Mayo Clinic has released recommendations from the Ice Hockey Summit on Concussion: A Call to Action. The summit attracted top scientists, trainers, coaches, officials and equipment manufacturers from across the United States, Canada and Europe to discuss concussion-related issues, including the science of concussions, impact on children, and prevention.
"Hockey is unique from other contact sports. It is a skilled, fast and exciting game, but the frequent collisions, rigid boards, sticks and puck contribute to risk of injury," says Michael Stuart, M.D., of Mayo Clinic's Sports Medicine Center and chief medical officer of USA Hockey. "Younger players need to first develop their skills, and those who administer the game must strive to minimize injury risk— especially to the brain."
The summit identified six components of a solution to concussions in hockey: developing standardized databases and metrics; enhancing recognition, diagnosis, management and return-to-play guidelines; analysis of the influence of equipment and facilities; education and prevention; rule changes, policies and enforcement; and communications. Participants in the 2010 symposium prioritized action items to reduce concussion and ensure appropriate return to play, including:
•Mandate education for coaches, parents, players and officials;
•Eliminate head contact;
•Teach body contact and checking at younger age levels, but postpone body checking in games until age 13;
•Collect concussion data using a consistent, hockey-specific definition in well-designed studies.