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Hockey Helmets Not Effective in Reducing Concussion Risk, Say Researchers

Having the proper safety equipment is a key component in preventing injury in hockey and other contact sports, but a new study suggests that most hockey helmets fail to reduce the risk of concussion.

While a Toronto brain surgeon has taken issue with the "simplicity" of the researchers' methodology, the study nonetheless shows that athletes cannot rely solely on helmets to prevent head injuries.

Researchers tested 32 hockey helmets and ranked them on a scale of one to five stars, with five indicating the highest level of safety. However, none of the helmets received a rating of four or five, while only one helmet received three stars, indicating that the helmet was "good" in preventing concussion.

The researchers rated nine of the helmets as "not recommended" for reducing the risk of concussion. To arrive at their conclusions, the researchers analyzed data obtained through sensors attached to hockey players' helmets and sensors attached to dummies that were used in simulations of on-ice collisions.

While the researchers hope that helmet manufacturers will heed the study and improve their products, Kerry Goulet, a former hockey player and co-founder of the not-for-profit Stop Concussions Foundation, pointed out that helmets were originally designed not to prevent concussions, but to prevent lacerations.

Goulet makes a point that we at Gluckstein Lawyers have made in the past: the most effective way of preventing concussions in hockey is to change the culture of the sport. At a young age, players must be taught how safely to play the game.

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