Youth hockey leagues should ban bodychecking until age 18, new study suggests

Many hockey supporters just love bodychecks. We can all agree that there are few things better in life than a really good, hard, and clean hit. But a body check that impacts the wrong place can cause devastating damage. A new study now recommends youth hockey leagues ban bodychecks entirely.

Dr. Charles Tator is a Canadian neurosurgeon and has recently published a study on post-concussion symptoms caused by brain injuries playing hockey.

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In the study, he calls for bodychecking to be banned in minor hockey until the players are 18 years old.

“The brains of 16- and 17-year-old hockey players are still too vulnerable,” Dr. Charles Tator said in an interview with TSN. “We are seeing that too many players are suffering the effects of brain trauma from permitted bodychecking, and in some cases, the symptoms can be there forever.”

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The current age for bodychecking is now at 13-14, and he thinks that raising that age could save a lot of people from suffering severe damage.

“We show the potential to prevent 85 percent of bodycheck-caused concussions by raising the permissible bodychecking age from its current age of 13-14 to 18 years of age. There is also the potential to eliminate years of suffering from bodycheck-induced PCS.”

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Dr. Tator said he understands that the study and suggestion will be contradicted and even ignored by players, teams, and parents. He, however, says that helmets and visors raised some angry voices when it was introduced.

“Each step in protecting players has met with resistance,” he said. “It’s expected because change is disruptive.”

Read more about the study here.

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