Fighters and forwards at greatest risk. Photo: Dan4th Nicholas/Flickr CC

Fighters and forwards at greatest risk. Photo: Dan4th Nicholas/Flickr CC

A shocking number of junior hockey players are getting concussions from being checked and punched in the head — and they are skipping out on visits to their doctors, according to a report in the November issue of the Journal of Neurosurgery.

The report, co-authored by Robert C. Cantu, MD, at Boston University Medical School, found that players, parents and coaches were often too annoyed by their doctors’ orders — such as staying off the ice, and making follow-up visits — to be bothered heeding the advice.

“This study showed a disturbing lack of compliance by the athletes to undergo requested neuropsychological evaluations and multiple physician visits, as well as a lack of understanding about the seriousness of concussion,” read a statement from another of the paper’s co-authors, Charles H. Tator, MD, at the University of Toronto’s Western Hospital.

Previous research has linked sports concussions to immediate and long-term cognitive impairment.

In a single season, in which brain docs tracked 67 Canadian male players between the ages of 16 and 21, 17 suffered concussions.

One-third of those players went on to get at least one more concussion in the same study period.

Two of the players concealed their concussions to avoid being benched.

The position you play determines your risk for getting a concussion, the new report also suggests.

Forwards in the study received 71 percent of the concussions. Defensemen got about a third. Goalies were undamaged.

Fighting appears to have caused one-quarter of the concussions.

About The Author

Mark Baard is a Blast editor-at-large

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