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Minor hockey club taking steps to protect players from concussions

WINNIPEG — A growing concern about concussions in hockey is trickling down from big league arenas to community rinks.

Usually reserved for the pros, baseline concussion testing is becoming more common in the minor hockey ranks.

READ MORE: Concussion test draws praise from parents, mixed reviews from doctors

A concussion can not only sideline a player but hurt them for years to come. The injury’s devastating effects though can be reduced with proper awareness.

“It’s frightening when your kids have a cold,” said Teresa Roy, a mother of a hockey player. “To hear concussion, that’s even more frightening because it could be something that affects them later on in life.”

READ MORE: Teens with concussion history face higher risk of drugs, binge drinking

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This season for the first time the St. Vital Victorias AA organization is paying for every one of its nearly 150 players to be tested.

“We don’t want to see any kid, any player badly impacted by the game,” said Greg McClelland, the club’s president.

READ MORE: Canadian docs release 1st national guidelines on concussion in kids

Players are given a score following a series of tests. The result can later be used as a comparison point to quickly identify a concussion, leading to a faster recovery.

“The longer they stay in their sport while concussed, it tends to lead to a longer recovery time, which affects their school, their social life, their everything,” said Joanne Carswell of Vista Place Physiotherapy and Sports Injury Clinic.

READ MORE: New website launched to help recognize concussion signs in kids

The tests cost roughly $30 per player. The Victorias say the price is well worth it and hope more minor hockey teams will adopt the practice.

“There are several others getting into it,” said McClelland. “I think it’s something that’s going to be across the board shortly.”

READ MORE: Sports-related concussion needs action: report

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