Concussion danger will increase with hockey physique test expertise

The researchers followed 941 Alberta hockey players playing in a body checking league for three seasons from 2015 to 2018. They followed boys and girls who were exposed to body checking in previous years to others who were not exposed to body checking. or no exposure to tackles.

As Jean-Michel Galarneau, a biostatistician at the University of Calgary and one of the authors of the study at the University of Calgary, explains, (New window) published in the Journal of the Canadian Medical Association, CMAJthe results contradict a persistent myth in hockey.

There was a myth that persisted that if kids don’t learn to throw or receive punches, by the time they get to the elite leagues where there are punches, they may be more at risk of injury.

In the NHL, body checking is part of the game, it’s about a player using their body to gain an advantage over another player and recover the puck.

Photo: The Canadian Press / Paul Chiasson

It is, however, the opposite, he says. Young people who have the most experience in verification are the ones most at risk of developing injuries: more experience does not lead to fewer injuries.

What we found surprising was that there was twice the incidence rate among those with more experience.he points.

Elements that are difficult to quantify

If the study concludes that players who have evolved in leagues that allow tackles are more likely to develop concussions, that doesn’t explain the causes.

According to Jean-Michel Galarneau, the reasons can be multiple. Why young people who have more experience [dans les mises en échec] are more at risk? We don’t know, maybe it’s because they put themselves more in these situations.

Those responsible for hockey associations will decide what they will do [avec les résultats de l’étude]he adds.

The study’s principal investigator, Paul Eliason, also specifies that neither the number of checks nor the level of aggression was taken into account, the latter variable being too difficult to quantify.


An attempt by a player to gain an advantage over an opponent using his body. A body check occurs when two opposing players collide while skating in opposite directions, or when positioning and orientation allow a blanket to use body force to an advantage. A body check may result in a penalty if it occurs in a hockey division that does not allow such contact.

Source : Hockey Canada

Different reactions among coaches

Josh Conroy, who has 16 years of experience as a hockey coach, believes the study overlooks some important points in hockey.

At the elite level, there are brawny young men who have learned that they can change the course of a game by arresting someone. […] At lower levels, children are not as physically involved, they go 30% slower. They are 50% weaker.

According to him, the checks must remain and should be taught early to young players. They’re part of the game, he thinks. When you’re young, you dump someone, you fall. We didn’t get hurt. And we learn to lift our heads.

According to Pierre-Marc Côté, coach of a team of under-18 players from the first division of the Quebec student network in Alma, the conclusion of the study is logical.

Even if you are well prepared and have been playing for several years [avec les mises en échec]it’s a single hit you don’t expect and your head is exposed, you can get a concussion and you can drag for a long time.

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