Chances are, if you’ve read any hockey news in the couple of years, you’ll have heard the heated debates about violence in hockey and the risks for head injuries.

A head injury refers to any form of trauma which occurs to the head. This includes common injuries such as concussions or contusions, and may or may not include injury to the brain.

Did you know? Each season, approximately 10-17 per cent of hockey players between the ages of 9 and 17 report a head injury.

Head injuries can happen in any sport, but are especially common in ice hockey due to the high-contact nature of the sport and the high speed at which impacts generally occur. In hockey, most head injuries are caused by brunt force trauma to the head region such as during a body check, a high stick to the head or when you have a hard fall on the ice.

There are two main kinds of head injuries: open and closed. Open head injuries cause penetration or separation of the skull. Closed head injuries are much more common, are harder to catch and can cause much more serious consequences if untreated.

Did you know? Hockey forwards are twice as likely to sustain (any) injuries as defenders (63 per cent vs. 33 per cent)

Your brain is suspended in a protective fluid (cerebralspinal fluid) in your skull. When you get body checked hard into the glass or your head hits the ice, the force of the impact causes your brain to shift quickly in your skull, which can cause it to bounce against your skull (for more information click here) causing bruising of the brain or bleeding in your skull.

Because the brain is such a sensitive and important organ, even mild trauma to it can cause serious impairments such as loss of consciousness, seizures, or even death. The brain controls all functions within your body; depending on where the injury to your brain is, you may experience changes in your ability to think, to express yourself, to recall facts or to control your movements and emotions.

Did you know? 15-19 year old hockey players report the most head injuries

Even though the consequences of a head injury can be severe, you can keep yourself safe while playing hockey by wearing properly fitted protective head gear such as helmets and making smart decisions on the ice.

Learn More!

Brain Anatomy and Function - Wisc

The Human Brain- Wikipedia

References :

http://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/hockb.html

http://www.springerlink.com/content/n01k110047284n5h/

Alice Zhao

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