I reckon that when PPP got hit on the head by a soccer teammate' head when he was 13, I had the reaction of not taking the head blow seriously until hours later. [Editor's Note: I stood up, fell down right away, and they all though I was joking :(] I wish I knew more then about concussions. Thankfully, he had no adverse effects to the head blow, which left a mark on his forehead for a long time. But it could have been a different and regrettable outcome.
Nowdays concussions are being discussed and being taken seriously in most sports, including hockey. Rather than repeat information that is well explained elsewhere, I offer a couple of links to articles that I believe PPP readers will find interesting and I hope useful:
Consider this: An essential tool for assessing concussions
After watching in horror as Mr. Crosby was felled by a mammoth blow, lay on the ice, dropped his mouthguard, stumbled to his feet, skated hunched over to the bench and then returned to the ice, possibly with a brain injury – who could possibly think their sons or daughters will be protected after absorbing a similar blow in youth sports?
All youth coaches from now on should carry in their sport bags a piece of equipment as important as a puck or ball, whistle or clipboard: the SCAT2, or Sport Concussion Assessment Tool 2 (download PDF), which is backed by an international consensus of brain doctors and includes some quick, reliable tests.
Risk my daughter's brain, for a game? Would any capable parent do such a thing?
They do. All the time. In a study led by sports doctor Paul Echlin of London, Ont., independent physicians and neutral observers monitored two junior hockey teams with players 16 to 21 years old. During the 52 games they observed at rinkside, they diagnosed 21 concussions. That is seven times the highest rate ever recorded for hockey.
Those physicians found concussions because they looked for them, and because they knew what to look for. And yet a coach, a team executive and even several parents balked at keeping concussed players out of the lineup. And this was a fourth-tier league.
I believe that the most important action is to take all blows to the head as a potentially serious injury, that should be examined carefully. The other, is that it is not possible to "skate it off".
To those who play sports, please take care.