On Monday, the NHL proposed a five-point plan to address the concussion epidemic by focusing on thorough diagnosis, co-operation and sanctions, as well as looking into the equipment and the glass. The federal government also recently announced its intention to study the issue.
“I’m encouraged to see that some owners of professional teams see that the status quo as no longer feasible,” said Glenn Thibeault. “However, the problem goes much deeper and we need to focus on concussion prevention within hockey culture itself.”
Although the NHL talks are encouraging, they do not address the problems at the junior and amateur level. “While the Chara hit on Max Pacioretty sent shock waves across the nation, thousands of amateur games were taking place that same night. Who knows how many young Canadian athletes were sent back into play with an undiagnosed concussion?”
For over a year, the NDP has called for action to address the problem of concussions and head shots in sports. In February, Glenn Thibeault introduced Bill C-616 concerning a national strategy to reduce the incidence of serious injury in amateur sport. A year earlier, the NDP called for a Royal Commission on violence in sports.
“Right now, discussion is taking place in 140 character tweets, talk radio and sports blogs,” said Glenn Thibeault. “We need national leadership to bring together all points of view and identify solutions. When a team like the Moncton Wildcats has lost nine players this year because of concussions, we can no longer question the need to find solutions as quickly as possible in order to protect our youth and our sport.”
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