ROCHESTER, Minn. - Physicians, scientists, athletic trainers, coaches, officials and retired pro players are gathering in Rochester this week to discuss concussions in the game of ice hockey.
"Ice Hockey Summit III: Action on Concussion" is a forum to discuss preventing, diagnosing and treating concussions in the sport at all levels.
"Ultimately, we're coming together to make the sport safer for our athletes," says Michael Stuart, M.D., orthopedic surgeon and co-director, Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine. "Athletes at all levels are bigger, stronger and faster. Therefore, we must improve our ability to diagnose, treat and prevent traumatic brain injury."
Summits held in 2010 and 2013 fostered recommendations and ultimately rule changes regarding penalties for all hits to the head, a delay in body checking until the 14-and-under level and eliminating checks from behind.
"To reduce concussions in hockey, we must change the mindset and behavior of players, coaches and fans," says Aynsley Smith, Ph.D., sport and exercise psychologist and concussion investigator at Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine. "From a young age, athletes need to learn proper body control and stick play to shift the focus from checking to improving skills. We are making progress, but there is more to do."