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Understanding the resistance to creating safer ice hockey: essential points for injury prevention

Abstract

Introduction Despite the known negative health outcomes of concussions in minor level boys’ hockey, there has been significant resistance to creating a safer game with less body checking.

Methods To better understand cultural barriers that prevent making the sport safer for youth and adolescents, semistructured interviews, with 20 ice hockey stakeholders, were conducted and analysed using thematic analysis.

Results Through this analysis, two primary concepts arose from respondents. The first concept is that body checking, despite the harm it can cause, should be done in a respectful sportsmanlike fashion. The second concept is the contradiction that the game of ice hockey is both dynamic and unchangeable.

Discussion Using structural functionalist theory, we propose an argument that the unfortunate perpetuation of violence and body checking in youth ice hockey serves to maintain the social order of the game and its culture. Any strategies aimed at modifying and promoting healthy behaviour in the game should take these concepts into account.

  • concussion
  • traumatic brain injury
  • advocacy
  • education
  • recreation / sports
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