In an attempt to make hockey safer for young players, the Minor Hockey Association of Canada banned body checking in Pee Wee hockey across the nation back in 2013. And according to researchers at the University of Calgary, the rule change is finally paying off.
Kathryn Schneider, an assistant professor at the University of Calgary, says that there have been far fewer injuries and concussions to young players thanks to the change.
“What we found was a 64 per cent decrease in the risk of concussion and a 50 per cent decrease in all injury once there was no body checking permitted in the Pee Wee hockey leagues,” Schneider told CTV News Calgary.
64 per cent fewer concussions?! In total, that adds up to around 4,800 fewer per year across Canada, an impressive number that all parents can truly appreciate.
And since there’s a wide range of player sizes and skill levels in any grouping of 11 and 12-year-olds — at that age, some players are literally twice the size of others — there’s enough of a reason for the ban to be in place.
But not all hockey moms and dads see the advantage. Some parents are concerned that after Pee Wee, players will still graduate to the next level, where bigger, even more developed teens will be waiting for them in the Bantam division where hitting is permitted. Plus, there’s still quite a size difference between 13 and 14-year-olds, and they’re not getting any less powerful.
Even so, we’re pleased to hear about the reduction in injury, especially in concussions.
The University of Calgary research team has yet to publish their findings — they’ll be presented at the upcoming International Olympic Committee prevention of injury conference in Monaco. So for now, watch the video above for more details on the study.