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National Hockey League Reported Concussions, 1986-87 to 2001-02

  • R.A. Wennberg (a1) and C.H. Tator (a2)
Abstract:
Objectives:

To examine the longitudinal media reported rate of concussions in the National Hockey League (NHL) over the period 1986-87 to 2001-02.

Methods:

All injury reports published in the weekly sports newspaper The Hockey News for the 16 seasons 1986-87 through 2001-02 were reviewed for reported concussions. The Hockey News reports are based on weekly injury reports released by the NHL, which derive from reports submitted to the league by individual team offices.

Results:

Adjusted for changes in the number of teams and games per season over the 16 year study period, and expressed as: number of concussions per 1000 games, results by season (starting with 1986-87) were 4, 8, 7, 7, 5, 5, 7, 7, 6, 8, 13, 20, 30, 27, 30, 25. Comparing each season with the prior season, significant increases were reported in 1997-98 and 1998-99 (p<0.05 and 0.025, respectively), with no change since 1998-99.

Conclusions:

The reported concussion rate in the NHL during the last five years is more than triple that of the previous decade. Bigger, faster players, new equipment and harder boards and glass have all theoretically increased the risk of concussion in the NHL in recent years. However, the abrupt increase and subsequent plateau in concussion rate since 1997 suggests that increased recognition and reporting may be primarily responsible for the apparent increase in incidence.

RÉSUMÉ: Objectifs:

Examiner le taux longitudinal de commotions cérébrales rapporté par les media de 1986-87 à 2001-02 dans la Ligue nationale de hockey (LNH).

Méthodes:

Tous les rapports de blessures publiés dans l’hebdomadaire sportif The Hockey News pendant 16 saisons consécutives, soit de 1986-87 à 2001-02 inclusivement, ont été revus pour identifier les cas de commotions cérébrales. Les rapports publiés dans cet hebdomadaire sont basés sur les rapports hebdomadaires de blessures fournis par la LNH et venant de rapports soumis à la ligue par le bureau de chaque équipe.

Résultats:

Les résultats ont été ajustés pour les changements du nombre d’équipes et de parties par saison pendant la durée de l’étude. Ils sont exprimés en nombre de commotions par 1000 parties et par saison à partir de 1986-87: 4, 8, 7, 7, 5, 5, 7, 7, 6, 8, 13, 20, 30, 27, 30, 25. En comparant chaque saison avec la précédente, on constate une augmentation significative des cas rapportés en 1997-98 et 1998-99 (p<0,05 et 0,025 respectivement). Aucun changement n’a été constaté depuis 1998-99.

Conclusions:

Le taux de commotions cérébrales rapporté dans la LNH dans les cinq dernières années est plus du triple de celui de la décennie précédente. Des joueurs plus costauds, plus rapides, un équipement nouveau et des rampes et des vitres de protection plus dures ont augmenté, du moins théoriquement, le risque de commotion cérébrale dans la LNH dans les dernières années. Cependant, le fait qu’on constate une augmentation subite puis un plateau dans le taux de commotions cérébrales depuis 1997 suggère qu’il est possible que l’augmentation de l’incidence soit due à ce que cette pathologie est plus souvent reconnue et rapportée.

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References
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Canadian Journal of Neurological Sciences
  • ISSN: 0317-1671
  • EISSN: 2057-0155
  • URL: /core/journals/canadian-journal-of-neurological-sciences
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