News Views: Use your head

Proposed Concussions in Youth Sport Safety Act recognizes majority of sport-related head injuries occur in athletes younger than 20

B.C. Liberal MLA Moira Stilwell has proposed legislation to help prevent concussions in youth sports.

The private member’s bill would make it law to remove a young athlete from play if a concussion is suspected.

The proposed Concussions in Youth Sport Safety Act recognizes that the majority of sport-related head injuries occur in athletes younger than 20, and that the frequency of such injuries is increasing.

Even with Hockey Canada’s new rules, head shots still occur frequently in minor hockey. Sometimes penalties are called, often they are not. Such inconsistency only confuses players and puts them more at risk, and some have sustained concussions.

These rules need to be more strictly enforced.

More is unknown than known about concussions. We know what causes them, but not why some people feel some symptoms – headaches, nausea, dizziness, sensitivity to light – while others experience a sudden onset of depression.

There’s no clinically tested treatment for concussions. Rest is best.

Sidney Crosby just returned to the NHL after 10 months recuperating from a concussion.

Other players have had to retire after sustaining multiple concussions, some the result of deliberate and callous head shots.

These are professional athletes; they know the risks they take every time they compete, and what’s at stake – for some, their jobs.

But what about our children?

So few will ever play junior or college, let alone pro. They have their whole lives ahead of them.

No game, no victory or goal, is worth jeopardizing their futures.

As a government, as volunteers, as parents, we need to do everything possible to educate them about brain injuries, to teach them to protect themselves and respect one another, without instilling in them fear.

It’s not as simple as telling them to keep their heads up, and elbows down.

We must help them value our most valuable asset – our brains.

Use them.

– Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows News