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PLoS One. 2013 Jul 17;8(7):e69122. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0069122. Print 2013.

Bodychecking rules and concussion in elite hockey.

Author information

1
Division of Neurosurgery and Injury Prevention Research Office, St. Michael's Hospital, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Abstract

Athletes participating in contact sports such as ice hockey are exposed to a high risk of suffering a concussion. We determined whether recent rule changes regulating contact to the head introduced in 2010-11 and 2011-12 have been effective in reducing the incidence of concussion in the National Hockey League (NHL). A league with a longstanding ban on hits contacting the head, the Ontario Hockey League (OHL), was also studied. A retrospective study of NHL and OHL games for the 2009-10 to 2011-12 seasons was performed using official game records and team injury reports in addition to other media sources. Concussion incidence over the 3 seasons analyzed was 5.23 per 100 NHL regular season games and 5.05 per 100 OHL regular season games (IRR 1.04; 95% CI 1.01, 1.50). When injuries described as concussion-like or suspicious of concussion were included, incidences rose to 8.8 and 7.1 per 100 games respectively (IRR 1.23; 95% CI 0.81, 1.32). The number of NHL concussions or suspected concussions was lower in 2009-10 than in 2010-11 (IRR 0.61; 95% CI 0.45, 0.83), but did not increase from 2010-11 to 2011-12 (IRR 1.05; 95% CI 0.80, 1.38). 64.2% of NHL concussions were caused by bodychecking, and only 28.4% of concussions and 36.8% of suspected concussions were caused by illegal incidents. We conclude that rules regulating bodychecking to the head did not reduce the number of players suffering concussions during NHL regular season play and that further changes or stricter enforcement of existing rules may be required to minimize the risk of players suffering these injuries.

PMID:
23874888
PMCID:
PMC3714233
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0069122
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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