Jul 17, 2013, 6:15 PM EDT
Three years ago, the NHL tightened its rules on hits to the head in an effort to curb injuries and concussions.
According to a new study, it’s not working.
Conducted by neurosurgeon and concussion researcher Dr. Michael Cusimano of Toronto’s St. Michael’s Hospital, the study compared concussion rates before and after the NHL introduced rules against hits to the head in 2010.
“The rate of concussion did not decrease,” Cusimano said in an interview, as per CBC. “It in fact increased the first year and in the second year in the NHL it stayed stable.
“So we didn’t see a decline like I think everyone had hoped, including the NHL, who said brought in primarily for player safety.”
The amendment to rule 48 — illegal checks to the head — was introduced two years ago, at the start of the 2010-11 campaign..
Illegal checks to the head, defined as “a lateral or blind side hit to an opponent where the head is targeted and/or the principle point of contact is not permitted,” will now be subject to a five-minute major penalty and automatic game misconduct, as well as possible supplemental discipline if deemed appropriate by the League.
While the aim is to prevent severe injuries, like the concussions suffered last season by players such as Florida’s David Booth and Boston’s Marc Savard, hockey remains a contact sport and [Director of Officiating Terry] Gregson made clear that just because there is contact to the head, it doesn’t automatically make for an illegal hit.
Cusimano suggests the rule isn’t working is because of how it was originally worded — and how it’s been called.
“Part of it’s the way the rule’s written. Part of it’s the way the rule is enforced. Part of it’s the penalties associated with the rule,” he explained. “And part of it is that concussions are also coming from other causes like fighting, that is still allowed.”
Another issue, it seems, is the sheer physicality of the sport.
Cusimano and his researchers said 64 per cent of NHL concussions were caused by bodychecking, while 28 per cent of concussions — and 28 per cent of suspected concussions — were caused by illegal incidents that resulted in a penalty, fine or suspension.
As for solutions, Cusimano came up with four suggestions: banning fighting, stiffer penalties for teams/players that cause concussions, changing equipment regulations and looking at different ice sizes and dimensions.
Mar 28, 2015, 1:46 PM EDT
Pittsburgh killed the penalty.
Mar 28, 2015, 1:35 PM EDT
Notes from a busy Saturday afternoon.
Mar 28, 2015, 1:13 PM EDT
Nashville’s in a great position to clinch a playoff spot.
Mar 28, 2015, 12:24 PM EDT
The really busy Saturday matinee edition.
Mar 28, 2015, 12:09 PM EDT
Nashville will aim to clinch without him.
Mar 28, 2015, 11:55 AM EDT
Four teams look to punch their ticket on Saturday.
Mar 28, 2015, 11:17 AM EDT
Just what the doctor ordered.
Mar 28, 2015, 11:10 AM EDT
They face the desperate Bruins today.
Mar 28, 2015, 11:03 AM EDT
He’s a healthy scratch for Saturday.
Mar 28, 2015, 10:31 AM EDT
St. Louis gets Carl Gunnarsson back, too.
Mar 28, 2015, 9:29 AM EDT
Now that’s a “hockey face.”
Mar 28, 2015, 2:16 AM EDT
A round-up of scores from Friday’s NCAA action.
Mar 28, 2015, 12:52 AM EDT
Their in Vancouver to face the Canucks on Saturday.
Mar 28, 2015, 12:08 AM EDT
Crawford pulled in the first period.
Mar 27, 2015, 11:28 PM EDT
Crawford was pulled late in the first period.
Mar 27, 2015, 10:55 PM EDT
That’s a blow to Calgary’s post-season hopes.
Mar 27, 2015, 10:00 PM EDT
Nine points since joining Florida.
Mar 27, 2015, 9:17 PM EDT
Not a great start for Chicago.
Mar 27, 2015, 8:47 PM EDT
The club says he’s expected to make a full recovery.
Mar 27, 2015, 8:00 PM EDT
New York plays twice this weekend.
- Gearing up: Malkin, Hornqvist return for Pens 0
- The King is back: Lundqvist starts for Rangers Saturday 5
- Five big games to watch this weekend 7
- Video: Kessel, Booth get into altercation at Leafs practice 34
- Playoff watch — what the bubble teams need to do 29
- After Howard fails to ‘bounce back,’ Mrazek to receive ‘opportunity’ 36
- Bruins can’t hold Ducks off, suffer sixth loss in a row 32
- Ticket punched: Rangers become first team to clinch 2015 playoff berth 16
- Coyotes ‘win’ against Sabres in OT 58
- Marchand: If Bruins miss playoffs, ‘this is going to be a much different group next year’ 20
- Dreger: ‘In Kessel’s case, I firmly believe he’s going to be traded’ (73)
- Coyotes ‘win’ against Sabres in OT (58)
- Red Wings beat Blues in OT, but should winning goal count? (56)
- Tank-worthy? Connor McDavid finishes OHL season with 120 points in 47 games (56)
- Report: No fine or suspension for Tyler Toffoli’s hit on Alex Burrows (51)