|A diagram of the forces on the brain in concussion (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
If you’re like many parents who are reluctant to put their children in youth hockey, it may be because you’ve heard it is a “dangerous sport” and that children regularly get hurt and suffer concussions. While it is true that injuries, and, in some cases, concussions do sometimes occur in the context of the sport, recent studies have found that concussions are not more common in youth hockey than they are in other high contact sports.
Studies have also found that, more often than not, when concussions do occur in youth hockey, they are due to disallowed/illegal moves, so if you choose a good coach and a good league that doesn’t put up with “bad behavior” from players, you can cut the risk even further.
Other ways to reduce your child’s risk of a concussion include having the proper, high quality safety gear and insisting that your child wear it anytime he goes on the ice. It’s also smart to find a coach/league that educates players on proper body checking, that doesn’t allow body checking until the age of 13, and that teaches proper playing techniques and respect to young players.
As you can see, there are things you can do to protect your child against getting a concussion. But, at the end of the day, you have to ask yourself, do you really want to stop your child from doing something he wants to do because of fear and because of what “might” happen? That’s not a good way to live or a good example to set, so if your child is begging you to play youth hockey and you’ve said no, maybe it’s time to reconsider?