Posted at: 10/08/2013 11:02 PM
By: Steph Crock
Summit Addresses Concussion Prevention in Hockey
(ABC 6 News) -- Doctors and researchers from around the world are in Rochester this week for a “hockey summit” at Mayo Clinic. They're specifically looking at ways to prevent concussions in the sport.
Ice Hawks Coach Nick Fatis has been big into hockey since age 3, but has suffered a number of concussions along the way. "My first concussion was at 5 or 6 years old. They are pretty sure the number is right at 14 now," said Fatis. That's a reason why he's adamant his players are staying safe. "This is not the NHL you know, there is not a million dollars riding on the line. They have to be able to pick up their kids someday, they have to be able to sit down and help their kids with their math homework," said Fatis.
That's exactly what researchers are doing here in Rochester. From Pee-Wee to the NHL, their one objective is to reduce concussions on the ice. "It's a long term commitment to sit on these types of organizations to try to see if you can make changes that improve the sport for kids and their safety, and at the same time, preserve the sport for what we like it for," said University of Minnesota researcher Bill Roberts.
Each speaker focuses on an area of concern. One example, looking at current policies and how to better enforce them. "They don't allow body checking at the Pee-Wee level, and now they're looking at the Bantam level, and now they're looking at the interventions their making in House League Hockey with no check versus check," said Roberts.
"There were a lot of hits that were questionable in the last two decades, and I don't know if making new rules is going to change the injuries. I think enforcing the old rules, and of course equipment has got to evolve," said Fatis.
Helmets were another point of discussion. "We need to understand more about the mechanism of concussions. What is actually happening to the brain? How is the brain moving within the skull?... So that when we test the helmet, we don't just look at what the head as a whole is doing, but what the brain is doing inside," said researcher with "Team Wendy," Ron Szalkowski.
Though this event is more to share findings on concussions, Fatis is just happy they're having those types of conversations. "It's definitely a life altering thing," he said.
This is the second “hockey summit” that's been held at Mayo Clinic. It will go through Wednesday.