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  1. #1

    Why women’s ice hockey has a higher concussion rate than football

    At the 2014 Winter Olympics, Josephine Pucci won a silver medal playing for the US women’s hockey team. Later that year, she retired.

    Why? Concussions.

    Pucci is not alone. Several prominent female players, including Pucci’s former teammates Caitlin Cahow and current US Olympian Amanda Kessel, have struggled with concussions at some point during their career.

    The result has been an increased push for concussion safety awareness in women’s ice hockey. Just this month, Kessel’s teammate Angela Ruggiero, along with former Canadian Olympian Hayley Wickenheiser, announced a decision to donate their brains to science in the hopes of improving concussion research. For her part, Pucci is working to raise awareness as co-founder of the Headway Foundation.
    https://www.vox.com/videos/2018/2/14...ens-ice-hockey
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  3. #2
    Concussions are scary in general. I am happy to see more attention and awareness on concussions. I feel there should more focus on our coaches, who, need to do a better job of teaching players on how to protect themselves at a younger age. It is a fast sport but I feel as coaches there is not enough focus on players safety along the boards on how to hit and defend properly, but also how to control the puck as well.

    Prime example, Eric Lindros, as a kid he was so much bigger and stronger than the kids his age so he didn't have to worry about getting hit. But once he got to the NHL and met his equal competition he was vulnerable to big hits in his NHL career and gave him lots of concussions. Reason why that happen, is he developed bad habits during his younger years that carried over to his NHL career. We never heard too much about Gretzky or Datsyuk having too many concussions cause they moved the puck and knew how to protect themselves on the ice. Plus Gretzky had Semenko on his wing to protect anyone taking big runs at Gret. But fighting causes concussions too.

    This topic will be a debate for years to come, but I would love to see more focus on proper coaching development for the safety of the next generation of kids from the National Hockey Governing body such as USA Hockey, Hockey Canada. Too much focus is on skill development and team systems, would love to see coaches do more battle drills in practices so players develop more confidence in games and learn how to protect themselves from injuries such as concussions. Maybe we should be moving contact hockey back to an earlier age again?

    What's the correct answer??? One thing, I have never figured and don't understand is why is there so much focus on concussions in contact sports such as hockey and football but one of the highest rated sporting events nowadays is the UFC. Hockey and Football are trying to take away concussions yet it is ok to watch someone get kneed in the head until the ref calls the fight or the fighter is knockout. Go figure!!

    Would love to hear what others think about all this. I also recommend everyone to read the new Ken Dryden book 'Game Change' that came out last fall. Great read on concussions and the story of Steve Montador.

  4. #3
    I think this would be soooooo easy for the NHL (any any other league) to fix:

    - If you make contact with the head, it's a minor penalty
    - If you make deliberate contact with the head (in the ref's assessment) it's a match penalty

    Would this end concussions in hockey? No. I don't think there is any way to eliminate them completely... but you'd get rid of a lot.

    I don't have any kids playing minor hockey... but what I hear from others that do, there is so many things wrong with the way hockey is run for kids these days. If the basics of giving a hit & receiving a hit are not taught well - then certainly coaches are not doing their jobs... I won't speak to what they do now though. I can certainly remember running through contact drills @ practice when I was a kid though, and they did teach you how to absorb a hit much better.

    As for UFC, meh. Maybe I've got the wrong impression.... but I don't think it's as popular as it was a few years ago. Peaked. Don't get me wrong... it's still a big deal, but if it was to be sold today - speculation (last I heard on this topic) was that it'd be worth about half the $4.2 billion that WME paid for it. Yeah, it does better numbers in the USA than the NHL does... but if they put tiddlywinks on ESPN2 it would do better across the country than hockey.

    There are always going to be people interested in blood sport. If we reverted to the ways of pre-Constantine Rome, and went back to feeding Christians to Lions... there would be people cheering at the arena, and buying it on PPV (not me, but there would be some).
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  5. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by 30ranfordfan View Post
    I think this would be soooooo easy for the NHL (any any other league) to fix:

    - If you make contact with the head, it's a minor penalty
    - If you make deliberate contact with the head (in the ref's assessment) it's a match penalty

    Would this end concussions in hockey? No. I don't think there is any way to eliminate them completely... but you'd get rid of a lot.
    I'm no doctor, but unlike football I think that most concussions in hockey don't actually stem from contact with the head itself - I think it's contact with the boards, ice, or simply head wobble from a massive body check.
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  6. #5
    I think the guys who get punched in the head on a regular basis (granted, those guys are becoming less of a thing) have dealt with terrible concussion problems. Making deliberate contact with the head (I should have said via a hit... or via your fists) a match penalty: You'd all but eliminate fighting (without actually "banning" it), and eliminate many concussions by doing so.

    You don't see many hits like the ones Stevens dropped on Lindros, Karyia, or Francis anymore .... that type of hit was the worst offender, and is (with interpretation) against the rules now. You can't target the head like Stevens used to.

    My problem with that rule, is that it's still open to interpretation. If you hit a guy in the head, and the ref doesn't believe you intended to do it, then the hit is still legal.

    Certainly the whiplash effect of a big check can have bad effects.... and a head going into the boards or ice from a check (or anything that might make a player fall) is certainly going to be a big factor too... you're right about that. I'm not sure about where most concussions come from (direct head contact, vs contact elsewhere) but the worst ones I can remember happening in the NHL were the result of hits to the head.

    I dunno. I'm in favor of making the game safer, and minimizing injuries - where you can. It's a contact sport (and I would never suggest it should become otherwise) played at high speeds. There is incredible risk of injury all the time. If you eliminate hits to the head, you get rid of some concussions. What did you really eliminate though? I say nothing that's all that important. You hit a guy to knock them off the puck, and you don't need to hit their head to do that.

    Head contact is risk that can be removed. All contact? No, that's risk that players are going to have to assume in order to play hockey.

    Quote Originally Posted by Maggot View Post
    I'm no doctor, but unlike football I think that most concussions in hockey don't actually stem from contact with the head itself - I think it's contact with the boards, ice, or simply head wobble from a massive body check.
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  7. #6
    Should also point out... the topic has gotten a little offside (thanks, me!), as the original article was regarding the woman's game... where hitting isn't allowed (I hate the term "non-contact" because there is no such thing as non-contact hockey).

    Woman's hockey has a higher rate of concussions than football? I suspect that has a lot to do with both the protocols followed by leagues & teams, and the athletes themselves. I have a hard time believing there are actually more concussions suffered in woman's hockey vs men's hockey or football. They're just doing a better job of reporting them.

    This likely comes down to the all mighty dollar. The schools might not be able to revoke a scholarship for a kid on a hockey or football scholarship, if they got concussed and now can't play... but that running back whose suffering from headache has a lot more to lose than the star right winger on the woman's hockey team. One can make millions playing in the NFL... the other is going to get more out of her degree than she ever will in professional hockey.

    So one speaks up, and sits out a couple of games while they heal.... the other doesn't.

    At the pro level? Most woman in the NWHL don't out-earn minimum wage earners. They can earn up to $7,000 per season in the NWHL, and $10,000 in the CWHL. The seasons are short, so yeah... they work other jobs too.... but I'm sure fear of losing their job is a lot less. In the NFL? If you're the 5th best lineman on your team, and have a multi-year contract that pays you millions.... if you're out for 6 weeks while your brain heals, you might find that you're out of a job when you come back.
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  8. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by 30ranfordfan View Post
    As for UFC, meh. Maybe I've got the wrong impression.... but I don't think it's as popular as it was a few years ago. Peaked. Don't get me wrong... it's still a big deal, but if it was to be sold today - speculation (last I heard on this topic) was that it'd be worth about half the $4.2 billion that WME paid for it. Yeah, it does better numbers in the USA than the NHL does... but if they put tiddlywinks on ESPN2 it would do better across the country than hockey.
    You are correct on the popularity slide of the UFC. It started to go down when Brock left but after a couple of their stars got busted for PEDs and drugs left them with a thin roster it has tanked. Oh and Rousey getting exposed as a fraud probably didn't help either.

    As for hockey in the US it has ticked up a little in popularity but it has basically become a very hardcore sport with the diehards but not much casual support. You can thank ESPN ignoring it for the past 15 years for doing a damage on its popular with the casual fan.
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  9. #8
    Sean,
    I definitely would say that the women would report the concussion more so than men. As you say the football players would be less likely less to report it as they have a big payday coming their way if they get drafted. Saying you had concussion would only be hurting your payday.

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