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Risk of Injury can be Reduced by Changing Hockey Rules

Update Date: Jan 20, 2013 05:43 AM EST

For those who are playing hockey or have people they know playing hockey, here's the good news. According to a recent study, researchers have found that the aggression injuries and penalties levied on hockey players can be reduced by changing the restriction on body checking and other hockey rules.

A series of 18 studies were conducted by researchers of St. Michaels' Hospital in Toronto in order to find out factors that would lower the risk of injuries to hockey players, particularly those associated with aggression.

Out of the 18 studies, 13 of them focused on analyzing the rules that were implemented in order to reduce aggression in minor hockey leagues in Canada and the United States. It was observed that out of the 13, 11 of the studies found a distinct reduction in the amount of penalty levied and the rate of aggression-related injuries. While the penalty reduced between one and six per game, the aggression-related injuries reduced between threefold and 12-fold.

Three of the 18 studies studies found no important effect between the aggression injury and the educational programs, while the effect of the same on penalties was inconsistent. The other two studies found that cognitive behavioral intervention, a program designed to alter the thoughts in order to alter the behavior, led to reduced injury risks due to aggression.

"Rule changes essentially alter the culture of a sport and clearly define acceptable behavior for players, coaches, parents and officials. Given that brain injuries are so common and that they can have permanent effects, we need to introduce measures that we know have been shown to work to reduce the numbers of children and youth suffering these injuries in sport," Dr. Michael Cusimano, the study author was quoted as saying in a hospital news release. Dr. Cusimano is a neurosurgeon and has researched and written extensively about traumatic brain injuries such as sport concussions. 

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