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New NHL Body Checking Rules Don’t Protect Players From Concussions

Update Date: Jul 17, 2013 05:29 PM EDT

A new study reveals that current body checking rules do not reduce the number of concussions suffered by players during National Hockey League (NHL) season.

Despite the rule changes, the new findings show that the 2009-2010 NHL season actually saw fewer head injuries than later seasons.

In the latest study published in the journal PLOS ONE, lead researcher Michael Cusimano and colleagues from the Injury Prevention Research Office at St. Michael's Hospital, Canada, compared reports of hockey players suffering concussions in the NHL before and after rules regulating head contact were changed in 2010-11 and 2011-12.

After looking at official game records and team injury records, researcher found that the number of NHL concussions or concussion-like head injuries in 2009-10 were lower than in the 2010-11 and later seasons.

The study revealed that 64 percent of the concussions were caused by body checking, while only 28 percent were caused by illegal incidents.

Researchers said the findings suggest that rules regulating body checking to the head did not reduce the number of players suffering concussions.  They suggest that additional changes or stricter enforcement of existing rules may be needed to reduce the risk of these injuries.

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