Hockey season is in full force. If you have kids that play in a league, there is no doubt that your calendar for the next few months is loaded with early morning practices and plenty of time spent rink-side cheering on your favorite little superstar. Hockey is our country’s unofficial national sport, and being part a league is a huge commitment for both parents and kids. Like any other contact sport, keeping your kids safe on the rink, is a priority for players and coaches.
Each year, nearly 87,000 kids under the age of 15 are treated for hockey-related injuries, and hockey is cited as the leading cause for winter sport-related injuries. According to a recent study by the Canadian Medical Association Journal, brain injuries such as concussions, account for 15% of all injuries for players ages 9-16. Even though our kids are well-equipped with protective gear from head to toe, the study concluded that prevention and education are the best ways to avoid hockey-related accidents. Many of the game’s enthusiasts are adamant that hockey should become a non-contact support, but even without intentional contact, players may still be susceptible to injuries.
Hockey Canada has invested over $100,000 on a new smart phone app dedicated to concussion awareness. This rfee app provides a mobile tool for parents, coaches, trainers, and players who are interested in learning more about the prevention and recognition of concussions. In the event of an incident on the ice, users will have a tool that allows them to identify symptoms and respond to them quickly. There are video tutorials, helmet tips, and even a locator map function to help them find the nearest emergency room.
Another fantastic resource that parents of new players can take advantage of is the Chevrolet Free Hockey Helmet Program. Over the last three seasons, Chevrolet has given away over 35,000 free hockey helmets to 5-year-olds. The program is directed at this age group because this is typically the age when kids enroll in hockey for the first time. This season, all players that were born in 2009 are eligible for a free Bauer hockey helmet. Parents can apply online by providing proof of age and registration. They will receive a voucher for a free helmet that can be redeemed at the nearest Sportchek location.
Your kid’s first season on a hockey team is usually just the beginning of a life-long dedication to the game. Help them start out safe so they can play the season start to finish without getting hurt. When purchasing equipment, go to a trusted sporting goods retailer to get them properly fitted for their equipment. Yes, hockey equipment is a major investment, but ill-fitting gear could result in preventable injuries that will put them on the bench. Creating good habits, strong sportsmanship skills, and injury awareness is essential to keep our young athletes on the ice enjoying the game they love.