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A closer look at concussions in hockey

02/20/2008, 9:15am EST
By USA Hockey

On Feb. 20, 2008, the Colorado Springs Gazette published a series of articles focusing on concussions in hockey. Reprinted with permission from The Gazette, USA Hockey brings you the collection of important information regarding this injury.
 
Excerpts of the three articles, written by Kate Crandall, are below with links to the full versions.
 
The dangers of having your bell rung
 
Concussion graphicDazed, dizzy, but driven to establish his place in the lineup, Colorado College forward Eric Walsky kept playing after an opponent’s shoulder check left a dent in his metal facemask.
 
Not until later, when the symptoms persisted, did Walsky admit to himself what had happened in the Tigers’ exhibition against the U.S. under-18 team. 
 
It was the fourth concussion of his career, although it was mild compared to one he suffered in junior hockey, when he couldn’t remember the date or where he was. 
 
Concussions occur after a direct blow to the head, face, neck or body. The force causes the brain to shift. That impact can immediately result in a wide range of symptoms including confusion, amnesia, loss of consciousness, headache, dizziness, nausea, loss of vision or loss of balance. Once a person has had one concussion, the odds greatly increase that another blow, even a small one, will result in a second concussion. 

Research has shown that multiple concussions can have a snowball effect, magnifying the symptoms, but no one is exactly sure what the longterm effects are, said Dr. Michael Stuart, USA Hockey’s chief medical officer.
 
Patience is key for players in recovering after concussions
 
As freshmen, Colorado College players take a cognitive test that measures mental facets such as memory in order to establish a baseline. 

Once a player suspects a concussion, he will retake the test to get an indication of his neurological health. 

If the player is diagnosed with a concussion, he is put on rest. 

Dr. Michael Stuart, chief medical officer for USA Hockey, said even reading and TV watching are discouraged. 

“The safe way is to recognize the concussion symptoms, give the brain a chance to rest and heal, gradually return to play and that gives you the best chance of being able to compete for the rest of the season,” Stuart said. 

Unlike most hockey injuries, which have somewhat predictable timetables for healing with ice and heat and can be patched up with tape, concussions require patience.
 
Equipment makes difference
 
Defenseman Nate Prosser suffered a serious concussion — his second in as many seasons — against North Dakota in early November. To return to play, Prosser was required to switch to a helmet with padding three-quarters of an inch thick that is adjustable on the back and sides for a snug fit. 

Many Colorado College players prefer lighter, smaller helmets with a thin layer of foam. 

While no equipment can guarantee protection from a concussion, CC equipment manager Ed Warner said he believes more helmet padding “can’t hurt.”

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TIER I GIRLS - Marlborough, MA
Michael Bontatibus (Hooksett, NH)
Brea Boone (San Clemente, CA)
Jennifer Cameron (Hollywood, FL)
Kelly Cooke (Andover, MA)
Stephen Drain (Milton, MA)
Jennifer Glynn (Leominster, MA)
Michael Goodwin (Upton, MA)
Melanie Gotsdiner (Plano, TX)
Katie Guay (Mansfield, MA)
Bryan Harrington (Franklin, MA)
Samantha Hiller (Boulder, CO)
Jamie Huntley (La Jolla, CA)
Rachel Hutchinson (Brewster, MA)
Ted Kellar (Cheshire, MA)
Adam Kiel (Milford, MA)
Jessica Leclerc (Old Orchard Beach, ME)
Matthew Lowe (Hudson, MA)
Cameron Lynch (Somerville, MA)
Kyle McQuoid (Clinton, MA)
Brian Milliken (Leominster, MA)
Jarred Mitrano (Haverhill, MA)
Kristin Moore (Salt Lake City, UT)
Crystalle Parent (Londonderry, NH)
Chelsea Rapin (Shelburne, VT)
Chris Riley (Sterling, MA)
Jill Salvo (Long Beach, CA)
George Soares (Cotuit, MA)
Jackie Spresser (Aurora, CO)
Brienne Stewart (Tulalip, WA)
Melissa Szkola (Clinton Township, MI)
Bridget Waitkus (Attleboro, MA)
Joshua Wang (Cambridge, MA)
Carol Weston (Bristol, VT)
Taylor Willert (Sun Prairie, WI)
Mackenzie Williams (Rome, NY)

TIER II GIRLS - Amherst, NY
Brittney Berning (Litchfield, MN)
Kayleigh Bowers (Dallas, TX)
Tony Brovata (Sanborn, NY)
Francesca Clemente (Brooklyn, NY)
Samuel Cucinotta (Kenmore, NY)
Nicole Davis (Crystal Lake, IL)
Kevin Frankowski (Depew, NY)
Michael Fusani (Depew, NY)
Kendall Hanley (Allen, TX)
Daniel Iulianello (Webster, NY)
Katrina Kleinschmit (East Lansing, MI)
Amy Loughman (Teaneck, NJ)
Janine Martinez (Lovonia, MI)
Ceci Morris (Hoffman Estates, IL)
Peter Nigrelli (Buffalo, NY)
Andrew Nosek (Buffalo, NY)
David Panek (Buffalo, NY)
Jodi Price (Arkport, NY)
John Rivera (Farmington, NY)
William Robins (North Tonawanda, NY)
Stefanie Schmitz (Farmington, MN)
Scott Smith (Webster, NY)
Sara Strong (Grand Rapids, MI)
Randy Szukala (North Tonawanda, NY)
Alex Valvo (East Aurora, NY)
Madeleine Weeks (Philadelphia, PA)

TIER I YOUTH - Green Bay, WI
Travis Ahlberg (Birchwood, WI)
James Blankenship (Rhinelander, WI)
Scott Bokal (Manchester, MO)
Gerald Borman (Eagan, MN)
Denny Bourgoin (Lewiston, ME)
William Conybear (Madison, WI)
Nick Cristan (Hudson, WI)
Robert Dawson (Winfield, IL)
Shane Dillon (Saumico, WI)
Kyle Domin (Bozeman, MT)
Anthony Guzzo (Spokane, WA)
Jonathan Haas (Fitchburg, WI)
Andrew Hudson (Manchester, MO)
Jeff Klein (Denver, CO)
Michael Lacina (Omaha, NE)
Kyle Larson (West Liberty, IA)
Travis Larson (West Liberty, IA)
John Melancon (Lyman, ME)
Gabriel O'Lena (Soldotna, AK)
Karl Olm (Madison, WI)
Robert Pagani (Beecher, IL)
Richard Palo (Foristell, MO)
Dylan Peper (Arvada, CO)
Curt Peterson (Aldie, VA)
Daniel Rack (Glendale Heights, IL)
Brad Roethlisberger (Green Bay, WI)
Brandon Schroder (Wausau, WI)
Jayson Selbert (Cheektowaga, NY)
Adam Shadiow (Saginaw, MN)
James (Cody) Smith (Murfreesboro, TN)
Matthew Spaeth (Hillsboro, MO)
Zane Stout (Irwin, PA)
Mason Strom (Hoffman Estates, IL)
Todd Turner (Chicago, IL)
Michael Verdonck (Chicago, IL)
Alex Vigh (Grosse Ile, MI)
Nicholas West (Orland Park, IL)

TIER II 14 & UNDER - Hackensack, NJ
David Aiello (Newtown, PA)
Carl Barling (Sparta, NJ)
Robert Backl (St. Joseph, MN)
Danielle Bugge (West Windsor, NJ)
Fred Cleck (Annville, PA)
Paul Crosta (Morris Plains, NJ)
Morgen Dautrich (Nazareth, PA)
Michael Dimino (Mechanicsburg, PA)
Thomas Dugan Jr. (North Brunswick, NJ)
Jon Hayes (Atco, NJ)
Blake Hishmeh (Kinnelon, NJ)
Louis Imbriani (Anchorage, AK)
Alexios Karabetsos (Troy, MI)
Isaac Kessler (Ambler, PA)
Brian McCullough (Morton, PA)
Eric Michaels (Philadelphia, PA)
Robert Navickas (Morton, PA)
Donald Nichols (Dover, NJ)
Michael Oreskovich (West Deptford, NJ)
John Patenaude (Glenside, PA)
Ryan Pergola (Nutley, NJ)
Sean Perry (Kunkletown, PA)
Duncan Ryhorchuk (Hanover, MN)
Samuel Schildkraut (Media, PA)
John Thompson (Lancaster, PA)
Dalton Tice (Reading, PA)
Kevin Vena (Perkiomenville, PA)
Brett Wallen (Williamstown, NJ)
Eric Workman (Lakeville, MN)

TIER II 16 & UNDER - Reston, VA
Justin Baker (Alexandria, VA)
John Canoy (Fairbanks, AK)
Marcus Currie (Laurel, MD)
Armand DeForest (Phoenix, AZ)
Christopher Dietz (Washington, DC)
Colin Gates (Fairfax, VA)
Alex Germany-Wald (Washington, DC)
Logan Gruhl (North Chesterfield, VA)
Brian Jansen (Inver Grove Heights, MN)
Jason Johnson (Lakeville, MN)
Ronald Johnson (Lake Wylie, SC)
Richard Jondo (Baltimore, MD)
Richard Kuerston (Atlanta, GA)
Gary Labelle (Arlington, VA)
Jason Lortie (Coral Springs, FL)
Michael Lucas (North Royalton, OH)
Jeremy Malin (Aldie, VA)
Jason Messimore (Knoxville, TN)
Bob Nolan (Laurel, MD)
Peter Olson (Essex Junction, VT)
Thomas Parynik (Chesterfield, VA)
Josh Pergande (Reston, VA)
Matt Pettigrew (Sterling, VA)
Richard Robichaud (Lorton, VA)
Scott Sivulich (Wasilla, AK)
Derek Vandenberg (Arvada, CO)
Matthew VanHorne (Manassas, VA)
Joel Webster (Raleigh, NC)
Justin Yott (Colorado Springs, CO)

TIER II 18 & UNDER - Wayne, NJ
Chris Bluem (Kendall Park, NJ)
David Brown (Neptune, NJ)
Michael Dalton (Camden, NJ)
Timothy Foreman (Hershey, PA)
Blaine Forkell (Souderton, PA)
Michael Forys (Cottage Grove, MN)
Timothy Funk (Rye, NH)
Jeff Greenstein (Potomac, MD)
Colin Haas (Plano, TX)
Patrick Hanrahan (Hatfield, PA)
Michael Kubec (Mentor, OH)
Benedict Manderachi (Douglassville, PA)
Jason Mandroc (Downingtown, PA)
David Maxfield (Rochester, NH)
Tom McCullough (Conshohocken, PA)
Chris McPhee (Kearns, UT)
Justin Nicol (Lake Stevens, WA)
Robert Perry (Kunkletown, PA)
Steven Sailor (Sewell, NJ)
Daniel Shilkitus (Landenberg, PA)
Chris Shoppell (Fort Wayne, IN)
Gary Shpungin (Wayne, NJ)
Andrew Suhovic (Bayonne, NJ)
Jason Theodore (North Wales, PA)
Dustin Thompson (Missoula, MT)
Brandon Uzarek (Evansville, IN)
David Zulla (Roebling, NJ)
Eric Zullo (Avenel, NJ)

HIGH SCHOOL VARSITY - Omaha, NE
David Ballantyne (McHenry, IL)
Larry Clark Jr. (Pekin, IL)
Patrick Clay (Missoula, MT)
Russell Coll (Olathe, KS)
Joshua Eiden (Saint Bonafacius, MN)
Terry Farrar (Saint Charles, MO)
Brian Fisher (Aurora, IL)
Tim Frazee (Fairfax, IA)
Colin Gruenke (Northbrook, IL)
Brian Hankes (Wheaton, IL)
Jeff Hirsch (Woodstock, IL)
Benton Kooman (O'Fallon, MO)
Robert Lowth (Rolling Meadows, IL)
Josh Lupinek (Minnetonka, MN)
Nicholas Matarazzi (Saint Louis, MO)
William Murphy (Saint Charles, MO)
Arnold Pizzutelli (Overland Park, KS)
Terrance Saunders (Manhattan, KS)
Joshua Scott (Fort Wayne, IN)
Colin Snodgrass (Missoula, MT)
J.R. Stragar (Pittsburgh, PA)
William Valiant (Corvallis, OR)

SENIOR WOMEN - Marlborough, MA
Lorraine Adkisson (Estell Manor, NJ)
Leah Buysse (Waunakee, WI)
Rebecca Caron (Belmont, NH)
Cleveland Coats Jr. (Lexington, MA)
Donald Cowern Jr. (Ashland, MA)
Keisha Dunlevy (Worthington, MA)
Mary Frey (Edina, MN)
Jean Goodwin (Reading, MA)
Jamie Lalos (Billerica, MA)
Michelle Lichterman (Mount Prospect, IL)
Paul Maguire (Natick, MA)
Bryan McKay (Groton, MA)
Kristin Moran (Sartell, MN0
Ken Murphy (Melrose, MA)
Kevin Nelson (Billerica, MA)
Stephen Phaneuf (Hudson, MA)
Colleen Reddy (Salisbury, MA)
James Riley (Lancaster, MA)
Randy Silveira (Seekonk, MA)
Cory Talbott (Edgewater, MD)
James Ternullo (Billerica, MA)
Cody Tremblay (Brighton, MA)
Edward Vahey (Wellesley, MA)
Andrea Weissman (South Grafton, MA)

Tag(s): Concussion Information