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Hockey Alberta ramps up concussion education for female players

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Hockey Alberta and HeadCheck Health are teaming up to target female hockey players in concussion education. Cami Kepke reports.

A concussion is one of the scariest injuries any athlete can face, and officials say it’s important to know exactly what you’re dealing with when suffering from this type of head trauma.

In hopes of providing more education, Hockey Alberta is partnering with HeadCheck Health to educate female hockey players through the CrashCourse program.

“Female hockey players generally report more of these injuries,” HeadCheck Health CEO Harrison Brown said.

“The ultimate goal here is that we’re changing the culture so that it’s easier to retain some of that information.

“Maybe you recognize it sooner, maybe you recognize it in one of your teammates sooner and you say something to the coach or to the trainer.”

Read more: Sask. hockey player calls it a career after fifth concussion

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CrashCourse will be available to players, parents and staff involved with all 30 Alberta Female Hockey League teams this season.

The interactive online program focuses on symptoms, recovery and supporting teammates in hopes of improving the number of players recognizing their injuries.

“It’s an injury that’s tough to diagnose and tough to work with,” Hockey Alberta’s manager of female hockey Kendall Newell said.

“The more information we can provide our athletes and our parents and our coaches about even recognizing symptoms earlier is great.”

CrashCourse ties in with an online system Hockey Alberta implemented last season.

Read more: ‘The pain didn’t stop:’ Study looking into slow concussion recovery in youth

The program allows medical trainers and therapists to log suspected head injuries when diagnosed by a doctor. The program then monitors Hockey Canada’s return-to-play protocols.

It’s a key element that Hockey Alberta says is crucial to determining the future of the game.

“It gives us an opportunity to track injuries and allows us to see if, you know, it’s (happening at) practice, with gameplay, or if we have to provide more information to our parents or coaches,” Newell said.

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“Or maybe there’s even things that we need to change, the rules or that type of stuff, to make sure that our athletes are safe.”

HeadCheck’s program is used by more than 800 sports organizations from the minors to professional athletes across North America.

However, no matter the level of play, the hope is that these athletes can identify injuries quicker and ultimately get on the road to recovery in a more timely manner through this new program.