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Professor Alison Macpherson calls OHF's bodychecking ban a great first step

Professor Alison Macpherson calls OHF's bodychecking ban a great first step

The Ontario Hockey Federation's decision to ban bodychecking will likely draw more players to the game and keep others from dropping out, wrote The Canadian Press May 6 (via Global Toronto):

The federation is making the change – which affects players between the ages of 6 and 21 – in an effort to create a safer environment for new players to develop skills. The rule change affects house league and select players in most of the province, though Ottawa and Thunder Bay aren't governed by the OHF.

York University health professor Alison Macpherson, who was among the first researchers to call for bodychecking to be disallowed in recreational hockey, called it a great first step. "I know some parents keep their kids out of hockey, especially out of competitive hockey, because they worry about the injuries that might ensue when kids are allowed to bodycheck," she said Thursday.

Until now parents who wanted their child to play non-contact hockey didn’t have many options, said Macpherson. “There is pretty good scientific evidence that bodychecking, especially under the bantam level (age 13-14), leads to injury in youth ice hockey,” she said.

A study published last year found kids who were bodychecked were about 2.45 times more likely to suffer an injury than kids who didn’t play with body contact and 1.7 times more likely to suffer a concussion, she said. “Kids are more likely to play if they think they’re not going to get hurt,” said Macpherson. “Which is great because we have an obesity epidemic.”

Posted by Elizabeth Monier-Williams, research communications officer, with files courtesy of YFile – York University’s daily e-bulletin.