Head injuries
FTLComm - Tisdale - Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Saturday night only 25 seconds into the game a member of the Notre Dame Hound collided with the glass with his head and was knocked unconscious. I was on my way back from taking a picture and the sound of hitting the wall was pretty much what it sounds like when a player tackles the end boards.

The referee blew the whistle immediately, no penalty assessed and the train made his way from players box but the player lay motionless on the ice and the first responders were summoned. They immobilised his head and got


him onto a backboard then he was loaded up and removed from the ice. He spent the night in hospital and was released Sunday morning.

The unfortunate thing is that this is an all to common occurrence. Surprisingly the number of head injuries is increasing most among female hockey players even though they do not play a full contact game.

The damage caused by even minor head injuries is becoming more and more clear as the medical world is seeing the massive damage done to football, hockey and other athletes who sustain repeated injuries. The problem was first noticed with boxers but the same kind of permanent damage occurs with all head injuries and the affects to the person are serious.

In November the Alberta Minor Hockey association passed a ruling making it mandatory for all coaches to wear helmet when working on the ice. Though this seems overly cautious the number of serious injuries sustained by coaches is significant and a helmet can make a huge difference.

I sustained to concussions on the ice, one just skating but the other was refereeing a hockey game wearing a new pair of skates that did not get the proper sharpening treatment before I did the game. Though it is disconcerting to lose track of time and feel confused the real problem is in the weeks and to some, months, afterward when you suffer from post concussion effects. These are hard to describe but really affect your quality of life. That injury was in 1975 before referees wore helmets, in fact it was the very next year that they were required and I never went back on the ice as a referee without my trusty head gear.

In hockey and football the players are wearing protective equipment yet the chance of injury is still always there. Unfortunately we must accept that if you engage in some activities there are risks involved and a head injury is one of the most serious of those risks. One of the most important things you as a parent or coach can do is emphasis and do drills to when a kid is learning to skate to keep their head up, sound simple but it is really important. The nature of the neck is that it will bend backward in a collision without doing much hard but if the head goes forward the person is risking an impact that can do paralyising injury or death as the impact is transferred to the area at the base of the skull.

Where the greatest need with a head injury is in the medical response to the injury. I have found that doctors treating hockey players are often far to casual about the injury and most treatment is limited to retaining the injured person in hospital for observation. I am convinced that there is a need for much better pro-active treatment particularly with the marginal or lessor injuries. You do not need a fractured skull for the brain to have been injured and caution should taken if there is even a remote chance of a head injury.

Timothy W. Shire

Return to Ensign

This page is a story posted on Ensign, a daily web site offering a variety of material from scenic images, political commentary, information and news. This publication is the work of Faster Than Light Communications . If you would like to comment on this story or you wish to contact the editor of these sites please send us email.

Editor : Timothy W. Shire
Faster Than Light Communication
Box 1776, Tisdale, Saskatchewan, Canada, S0E 1T0
306 873 2004