High school hockey rule change reduces concussion rates from checking
Data presented at the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine Annual Meeting showed a decrease in the rates of concussions due to being checked among high school hockey players 2 years after a rule change aimed to improved player safety.
“The [National Federation of State High School Associations] NFHS implemented increased penalties for boarding and checking from behind in the 2014 to 2015 ice hockey season,” Lauren Nadkarni, MD, co-author of the study and primary care sports medicine fellow in the department of family medicine at Maine Medical Center, told Healio.com/Orthopedics. “Our study found that these stricter penalties for boarding and checking from behind were associated with a significant decrease in the rate of concussions due to checking.”
Nadkarni and colleagues used an injury database to look at rates of concussions due to checked vs. other causes of concussions prior to and after the rule change. Although the rate of concussions due to other causes remained unchanged, results showed a 49% decrease in the rate of concussions due to being checked in the two seasons after the rule change took effect.
In the future, Nadkarni noted they would like to examine other types of injuries and rule changes in boys’ high school ice hockey.
“We could also look at similar rule changes in other sports to see if they have similar effects, particularly if it contributes to reduction of sports-related injury and overall athlete safety,” Nadkarni said. – by Casey Tingle
Nadkarni L, et al. High school ice hockey concussion rates reduced with implementation of new checking/boarding rules. Presented at: American Medical Society for Sports Medicine Annual Meeting; April 12-17, 2019; Houston.
Disclosure: Nadkarni reports no relevant financial disclosures.