Women's Ice Hockey - Injury - Head Injuries

Head Injuries

According to the Hughston Health Alert, "Lacerations to the head, scalp, and face are the most frequent types of injury ." (Schmidt 6) Even a shallow cut to the head results in a loss of a large amount of blood. Most concussions occur during player to player contact (49%) rather than when a player is checked into the boards (35%). Not only are lacerations common, “it is estimated that direct trauma accounts for 80% of all injuries. Most of these injuries are caused by player contact, falls and contact with a puck, high stick and occasionally, a skate blade.” (Schmidt 3) One of the causes of head injury is checking from behind. Due to the danger of delivering a check from behind, many leagues, including the NHL have made this a major and gross misconduct penalty (called "boarding"). Another type of check that accounts for many of the player to player contact concussions is a check to the head. A check to the head can be defined as delivering a hit while the receiving player’s head is down and their waist is bent and the aggressor is targeting the receiving player's head. Checks to the head have accounted for nearly 50% of concussions that players in the National Hockey League have suffered. Concussions that players suffer may go unreported because there are no obvious physical signs if a player is not knocked unconscious. This can prove to be dangerous if a player decides to return to play without receiving proper medical attention. In recent years there has been debate over whether or not a check to head should be deemed an acceptable hit in hockey. In March 2011, the NHL instituted a new concussion testing protocol to help improve detection of concussions during gameplay

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