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Minor league hockey players unable to identify concussion symptoms, study says
Date:5/27/2009

TORONTO, Ont., May 28, 2009 When Chicago Blackhawk's leading scorer Martin Havlat returned to the ice for game four of the Western Conference Final after sustaining a concussion only two days earlier, questions were raised surrounding his swift return. According to a new study by St. Michael's Hospital neurosurgeon Dr. Michael Cusimano, similar questions were raised by 25% of minor league hockey players who did not know if an athlete with symptoms of a concussion should continue to play hockey. Nearly a majority of these players were also unable to identify a concussion or its related symptoms.

The findings are part of a study by Dr. Cusimano that analyzed the concussion knowledge of 142 adults (coaches, trainers and parents) and 267 players from GTA Atom (10-years-old), Bantam (14-years-old), AA (highly competitive) and house league divisions. The study is published in the May edition of the Canadian Journal of Neurological Sciences.

"Serious misconceptions exist among minor league hockey players, athletes, coaches and parents when it comes to understanding the signs and symptoms of a concussion and its treatment," said Dr. Cusimano, a professor of neurosurgery, education and public health at the University of Toronto and vice-president of ThinkFirst Canada, a national injury prevention organization. "While many can identify how a concussion may occur, most cannot identify the symptoms and are under the impression that concussions can be treated with physician-prescribed medication or physical therapy. Many also believe it's okay to return to play before they have fully recovered from such a brain injury. "This is troublesome since repeated brain injuries can lead to long term effects in functions such as memory, behaviour, mood, social relations and school or work performance."

Key findings of the study include:

  • Up to two thirds of players had the mistaken impression that a player does not have to lose co
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Contact: Julie Saccone
sacconej@smh.toronto.on.ca
416-864-5047
St. Michael's Hospital
Source:Eurekalert

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