Mayo Clinic hosts Ice Hockey Summit II on concussions

Oct. 8, 2013 at 12:14 PM
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ROCHESTER, Minn., Oct. 8 (UPI) -- Mayo Clinic's Sports Medicine Center is hosting Ice Hockey Summit II to discuss concussion-related issues among scientists and those involved with hockey.

The summit involves top scientists, trainers, coaches, officials, retired professional players and manufacturers from across the United States, Canada and Europe to discuss concussion-related issues, including the science of concussion, impact on youth athletes and hockey community response.

The summit focuses on ice hockey, but concussion-related topics will apply to all sports.

"This is an opportunity for experts across the hockey world to come together to make the sport safer for our athletes," Dr. Michael Stuart, co-director of the Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine Center, says in a statement. "Hockey players at all levels are bigger, stronger and faster. Therefore, we must improve our ability to diagnose, treat and prevent traumatic brain injury."

The summit is intended to build on the first Ice Hockey Summit held in 2010. Prioritized action items from the previous summit helped foster mandatory concussion education for all U.S. hockey coaches, improved teaching of body contact at younger ages and rule changes, such as penalties for all hits to the head, a delay in body checking until the bantam level and the elimination of dangerous acts, such as checking from behind.

As a result of these rule changes, Minnesota Hockey/Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine Center data showed a marked reduction in checking from behind penalties, Stuart says.

"To reduce concussions in ice hockey, we must change the injurious mindset and behavior of the players, coaches and fans," says Aynsley Smith of the Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine Center. "Athletes -- especially youth athletes -- need to learn proper body control and stick play to change the focus from checking to improving hockey skills. We have made tremendous progress in our sport, but there is more to be done."

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