Youth, Ice Hockey and Serious Injury
The most common injury in youth ice hockey, is concussion. These injuries can have serious life impacting consequences. Concussion is all too common, and is generally, very, under reported. Body checking is widely recognized as a major cause of concussions. While some of the leaders in the elite hockey leagues, in particular Gary Bettman, deny the association of Hockey and Concussion; the fact stands (not fake news!), that the rate of concussions occurring in ice hockey are higher than any other sport – across the levels of play.
In Canada, in recognition of this risk, in all regulated ice hockey body checking is banned for under 13 years of age (PeeWee and younger), Bantam age is the start of body checking. The Canadian Academy of Sports and Exercise Medicine recommend eliminating body checking for all ages, except for elite players aged 16 and over. Hockey Canada’s position is that checking skills are critical to the game of hockey, and that players must master all aspects of the checking game to become complete players. Their belief is that checking benefits player development, this position is countered by the US Minor Hockey organization where it is felt that checking distracts from the development of other skills such as stick work and skating. The count of game related injuries associated with body checking, triple in PeeWee aged players as they start to check.
Youth are known to be more vulnerable to concussion and have more serious long and short term effects from concussion, yet today, most injuries remain unreported. Devices, such as SportFitz stand to address this and bring concussive events into a place where they can be measured, monitored and then maintained. Young athletes with concussion may experience fatigue, inattention, lack of concentration, memory loss and headaches, and subtle cognitive deficits that may persist for a whole year and beyond for some youths. Repeat concussions are a large risk factor for Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), where symptoms extend to depression, suicide, memory loss, behavior and personality changes, early dementia and motor neuron disease.
Sub-concussive impacts cause silent invisible damage to the brains of many young athletes, these nearly always go un-noticed and untreated. Technology such as SportFitz can bring these events into the domain of treatment.
Getting back to hockey, it is an aggressive, high speed game played on a hard surface and boards which presents danger to players of all ages. Inside hockey, body checking being moved to the older aged players has reduced the incidence of concussions and elimination of body checking has shown to be, so far, been the only effective way to make the game safer for youth players.
Onward and Upward, this all makes contact sports pretty intimidating and worrying for those involved, but wait, sports play a vital and colorful role in the development of our youth. The key is to play hard and play safe, and use information and knowledge to make decisions not innuendo and rash judgement on how our youth play. The use of SportFitz technology, can act as a shield for the brain, in hockey we wear shin pads to protect our shins, chest protectors for our chest, helmets for our heads – yet nothing for our brains. Now is the time to use this technology to allow our youth to learn the skills of ice hockey and maintain their brain health – the damaging effects of concussions are cumulative and can tarnish youth for the rest of their lives.
SportFitz salute to the Humboldt Broncos
On Friday, April 16th, 2018, the lives of sixteen people ended suddenly when the bus they were traveling on collided with a tractor-trailer, carrying a load of Peat Moss. They collided with such force that the bus was torn in half. Humboldt, Saskatchewan was left to grieve the unimaginable … to try and come to terms with such a devastating tragedy. News spread across Canada, and our collective-tears have rippled outward to other Countries – together we share in their loss.
We, at SportFitz, are all parents, and are stunned by the senseless loss of all these lives. This would be a parent’s worst nightmare! This should have never happened to these bleached blond boys, who were proudly sporting their “Playoff-Hair”. We can’t possibly be arrogant enough to assume that we know that level of pain, but we do know the love that we hold for our children, and our concerns that they will be kept safe from harm. Our heartfelt condolences to the sixteen people who lost their lives, and to the others who are learning to deal with their new reality.
These boys were only 1/2 an hour away from the Arena where they would skate their play-off game with the Nipawin Hawks. I can imagine that the parking lot was starting to fill, and that the spectators were mulling around, chatting about the upcoming game. Perhaps some of the Bronco’s parents were there, anxiously, waiting for the team to arrive.
One by one, the devastating news came – news that they hoped they would never hear. A hushed grief spread through the streets of Humboldt, and green and yellow Bronco Jerseys started popping up in many windows, as a symbol of solidarity. Since that time the “Put Your Stick Out” movement has spread across the country to honor the Humboldt Broncos. Hockey sticks can be found on porches, as far away as Australia and Iraq. These sticks represent unfulfilled dreams, and lives which have been taken far too soon, along with those who are still fighting for their lives, and injured.
A GoFundMe page was set up to help families with expenses. It is the largest GoFundMe campaign in Canada, ever, and has accepted donations from 65 countries. So far, over ten million dollars have been collected.
SportFitz salutes these interrupted-lives. “If you are looking for a Hockey Stick to use in Heaven, there are a lot of them to chose from here.”
RIP – Forever Young
Adam Herold (16), Conner Lukan (21), Even Thomas (18), Jacob Leicht (19), Jaxon Joseph (20), Logan Boulet (21), Logan Hunter (18), Logan Schatz (20), Stephan Wack (21), Parker Tobin (18), Brody Hinz (18), Darcy Haugan (42, General Manager and Head-Coach), Glen Doerksen (59 Bus Driver), Mark Cross (27 Assistant Coach), Tyler Bieber (29, Humboldt Radio Announcer), and Dayna Brons (24, Athletic Therapist).
We got nominated Nominated for the 2018 Startup Canada Awards, celebrating outstanding achievement in Canadian entrepreneurship. Congratulations! Please join us online using #StartupCanAwards to celebrate your Nomination.
Next Step: The Regional Adjudication Committees will commence reviewing the Nominations later this week. Regional Winners must attend their Regional Ceremony. Be sure to save the date.
Prairies – Winnipeg, May 25
BC – Comox Valley, May 31
Atlantic – Miramichi, June 7
Quebec – Montreal, June 13
Ontario – Sault Ste Marie, June 21
April 5, 2018
When facts are stranger than fiction!
Causes of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) in Youth and Adolescents
There are various causes of Concussion in Youth and Adolescents. Not every event is the result of participating in a high-risk sport. As a matter of fact, only 30% of the concussions reported ever year, are related to sports and recreation. Of the millions of concussions reported, 70% are result of other events.
Statistics were gathered by the CDC, (Center for Disease Control), between 2000-2010 regarding Traumatic Brain-Injury (TBI) related Emergency Department (ED) visits, hospitalizations and deaths (according to age and cause of injury.) The data gathered, indicated that the rates of TBI-related Emergency Department visits increased for every age group studied … the most significant increase was noted for children four years and younger. Between 2007 and 2010, the rates increased by 50% in children 0 to 4 which were the highest rates of any age group studied (almost twice the rate of those aged 15–24 years).
The four main causes of (TBI) in Youth and Adolescents
One of the main causes of Concussion in Youth, (0-4 years) are falls. They are the main reason for visits to the Emergency Department for that age group. This also applies to children 5-14. While a visit to the ED may be required, a fall is rarely responsible for a TBI-related death.
Motor vehicle accidents
Motor vehicle accidents are responsible for a little under half of all TBI-related deaths in children and adolescents. They are the number one cause of TBI-related deaths among children 5-14, and are the #1 cause of TBI-related ED visits and hospitalizations for older teens.
Struck by or against
The second leading cause of TBI-related injuries is from being hit in the head by an object, or running into an object head first. This accounts for about 15% of TBI-related ED visits, hospitalizations, and deaths in the United States in 2013. Injuries caused by being struck by/against an object account for 35% of injuries in youth 5–14 years of age, who are diagnosed with a TBI during an ED visit. Like falls, this category of injury is more likely to result in ED visits than in death.
Assault is the leading cause of TBI-related death among children 0-4. It’s also a common cause of TBI-related ED visits and hospitalizations in older teens.
Having read the facts, will you wear your Fitz wearable Brain Impact monitor all day every day, or still only when you believe you are “most at risk”?
April 3, 2018
Concussion and Rowan’s Law!
On March 6, 2017, Ontario passed Rowan’s Law.
Rowan Stringer was a seventeen year old Rugby player in Ottawa, who passed away after receiving concussive injuries during practice and play, on her High School’s Rugby team.
Rowan’s father, Gordon Stringer, took it upon himself to challenge the Ontario Government to create Legislation to protect the Youth of Ontario. This recently became law, and is now referred to as “Rowan’s Law“.
Across the country, Ontario is the first Province to pass Concussion related Legislation. Canada is playing “catch-up” with the United States, where concussion-related Legislation has been enacted in every State.
In May 2009, Washington State enacted the Zackery Lystedt Law, becoming the first state in the USA to enact a comprehensive youth sports concussion safety law. Rowan’s Law follows the guidelines in that law.
The highlights of the requirements specified in Rowan’s Law include:
- A sport organization must not register an individual who is under the prescribed age in a sports activity unless the individual confirms that they have reviewed the concussion awareness resources approved by the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport.The regulations may provide for other circumstances where a sport organization must require individuals to confirm that they have reviewed the resources.
For individuals under 18 years of age or such other prescribed age, the parent or guardian of the individual must also confirm that they have reviewed the resources.
Individuals who serve as a coach or in other prescribed positions for a sport organization must also confirm that they have reviewed the resources.
- A sport organization must establish a concussion code of conduct. Similar to the rules described above, various individuals must confirm that they have reviewed a sport organization’s concussion code of conduct.
- A sport organization must establish a removal-from-sport protocol for athletes who are suspected of having sustained a concussion.The protocol must, among other things, establish a specific process to implement the immediate removal of an athlete and must designate persons who are responsible for ensuring the removal of the athlete and ensuring that they do not return to training, practice or competition, except in accordance with the sport organization’s return-to-sport protocol.
- A sport organization is required to establish a return-to-sport protocol that applies with respect to athletes who have sustained a concussion or are suspected of having sustained a concussion. The protocol must, among other things, establish a specific process to implement the return of an athlete to training, practice or competition and must designate persons who are responsible for ensuring that an athlete does not return until permitted to do so in accordance with the protocol.
- The Act proclaims the last Wednesday in September as Rowan’s Law Day.
Rowans Law goes a long way to improving the reporting, treatment and management of an incident, but does it go far enough?
Should the law not dictate, that a wearable Brain Impact Monitor like the new technology from SportFitz (a wearable concussion monitoring system – www.sportfitz.com), to detect events that may cause concussion and sub-concussive injuries (these are small injuries that may not show traditional symptoms, but are injuries none-the-less) be mandated!