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Hockey bodychecking and personal injury debate heats up

Contact sports may be fun for some, but others can face devastating consequences when hit too hard during a game. This is at the root of a current debate among Ontario high-school athletic associations. Some believe that hitting leads to too much personal injury risks, while others believe it is a necessary part of the popular sport.

One of the biggest personal injury concerns related to high school hockey is the risk of brain injuries. Awareness about concussion safety is growing across Ontario, and the topic has opened a debate about contact sports in school environments. The recent passing of Rowan's Law, which requires concussion safety measures be put in place for young athletes, has made this an even hotter topic.

Currently, bodychecking is legal in high-school boys' hockey in Ontario. It is not for girl's hockey. Meanwhile, privately organized leagues have been reviewing their rules. Hockey Canada mandated as of 2013 that bodychecking cannot be introduced until bantem level, which is age 13 or 14. A recent study suggested that this ban led to a 64 percent decrease in concussions and a 50 per cent decrease in overall injuries.

Despite this evidence, many hockey enthusiasts continue to advocate for bodychecking, saying it is a necessary element of the game. Others say that recent research and the disparity in size between high-school players makes taking out checking a good idea for young athletes. Personal injury resulting from sports can often have expensive and challenging long-term effects. Those seeking legal options for managing these outcomes should reach out to an Ontario personal injury lawyer for counsel.

Source: TVO, "Is it time to ban contact in high-school hockey?", David Rockne, April 25, 2018

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