03:29pm Sunday 25 August 2019

Decoding concussions this playoff season: U of T experts release key findings

Hutchison’s PhD research involved analyzing three-and-a-half years of NHL game footage, looking for consistencies in incidents of concussion. The first of three articles has been published in The British Journal of Sport Medicine. Some of the key findings were:

  • The majority of concussions occurred in the first period
  • The concussion-inducing hit most often struck the side of the head
  • No penalty was called after these blind-side, concussion-inducing hits occurred
  • Hitters were significantly taller and heavier than concussed players
  • Defensemen accounted for 32 per cent of concussions, but the majority of these injuries occurred when players were retrieving the puck or during “breakouts”
  • Concussed players were often not in possession of the puck
  • Concussions occurred most often when the head was struck by the shoulder, elbow or glove

As Hutchison was gathering data, the NHL used these emerging findings to develop rule 48, which was created in 2010, banning blindside hits to the head. “So far, the league has responded to this research in a very innovative and progressive way,” says Hutchison. “Hopefully, as data like these continue to emerge everyone from the fans, to the players, to the owners will gain a better understanding how to decrease the incidence of concussions on the ice.”




For more infomration, contact:

Valerie Iancovich
Communications Specialist
University of Toronto
Faculty of Kinesiology & Physical Education


Michael Hutchison, PhD
Director, Concussion Program
University of Toronto
Faculty of Kinesiology & Physical Education


Paul Comper, PhD. CPsych.
Assistant Professor
Toronto Rehab – UHN
Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education & Faculty of Medicine
416.597.3422 ext. 3962

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