At a panel discussion Thursday night at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto, concussion and brain injury expert Dr. Charles Tator made a definitive statement about head shots in the game of hockey:
Eliminate them entirely.
“We have no treatment for concussions,” Tator explained. “We have no treatment for the accumulative concussion, we have no treatment for the repetitive concussion, and it is the repetitive concussion that causes brain damage.
“Let’s get head shots out of hockey.”
Former Calgary Flames GM Craig Button also spoke about head shots, and believes the issue needs to be addressed.
“I don’t think it’s about fighting, it’s about blows to the head,” Button explained. “They should take away all contact to the head. Zero tolerance.”
The statements come at a time when another professional sports league, the NFL, is under siege for the treatment and handling of brain-related injury. According to a report, there are over 1,000 ex-NFL players currently suing the league, claiming not enough was done to inform players about the dangers of concussions in the past, and not enough is done to take care of them today.
In light of Tator’s comments — especially the admittance there’s “no treatment for concussions” — you can expect the issue of head shots in hockey to carry on throughout the summer, especially when it comes to negotiating a new collective bargaining agreement.