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Safety in Ice Hockey  -  Youth Council  September 2010
From Dr. Ashare,  Chair, USA Hockey Safety and Protective Equipment Comm

Topics: 
1.  Concussion
2.  Cervical Spine Injuries
3.  Protective equipment

1.  Concussions are a hot topic

The US Center for Disease Control has taken a major role in educating coaches, parents, players, and administrators about concussions in the last five years.  There are educational kits available at no charge that can be ordered from the CDC website.

There are at least ten states that have passed legislation that require high school coaches (and, in some states, youth coaches) to take to do on line training and take an examination about concussions. 
I recommend that all Youth Council members, USA Hockey coaches, USA Hockey parents, USA Hockey administrators take this training and examination.   This is no fee.

This program was developed by the National Federation of High Schools and the US CDC.  You can finish the entire course, including registration, is less than thirty minutes.  You can get to this training    http://www.nfhslearn.com

  • You have to register first – upper right hand corner.
  • Then sign in with your passward.
  • Then pick the concussion course – upper left hand corner.
  • There is no charge.
  • You do not have to be a high school coach.

There is not too much out there on how to prevent concussions. Some suggestions –

  • The HECC certified helmet should fit tight on the head –  It shouldn’t move around.  
  • Use a fitted mouth guard.  -  There is no proof that it helps, but it’s mandatory for certain age groups anyway.
  • Hydrate  - There is no proof that hydration will decrease the risk for concussions – but it’s a good thing to do anyway.  Players get dehydrated.

2.  Heads up, don’t duck – to reduce the possibility of paralyzing neck fractures.
A simple coaching trick  - heads up, don’t duck   - greatly reduces the probability of neck fracture when going into the boards. Show the HUH Video.    Do the HUH drills.

3.  Protective equipment

  • Know how to wear it.
  • Mouth guards are mandatory for certain age groups – boys and girls!!  
  • Equipment should fit well.  Loose equipment tends to not be as protective.