OHL helmet rule the right decision: Hand injuries heal - brain injuries do not, says Ontario Alliance for Action on Brain Injury

    TORONTO, Jan. 16 /CNW/ - Young hockey players who throw a punch while
wearing helmets could injure their hands, but that's no comparison to the
damage they could do if they ditch the helmets.
    "People must understand: There is a world of difference between a broken
finger and an acquired brain injury (ABI)," says John Kumpf, a spokesperson
for The Ontario Alliance for Action on Brain Injury (OAABI). "Your shredded
knuckles will heal - your brain will not."
    That is why OAABI applauds the Ontario Hockey League for implementing the
new rule that players must keep their helmets on and chinstraps fastened
during fights.
    While hockey commentators, including Don Cherry, have cited that
requiring players to wear helmets during fights will result in more hand
injuries, keeping helmets on heads protects something far more precious, Kumpf
    The Ontario Hockey league announced the new rule in the wake of the death
on January 2 of senior AAA player Don Sanderson, 21. The Whitby Dunlops'
player struck his head on the ice during a fight. He was not wearing a helmet.
    "As a young athlete, it's tragic to think you could lose your life
playing the sport you love. And even if you survive a serious blow to the
head, you'll very likely lose your life in other ways," says Kumpf. "You can
lose the person you used to be: Your memory, your identity, your job, your
friends and loved ones - all because of a brain injury."
    An ABI can cause difficulties with motivation, insight, problem-solving,
body temperature control, and hypersensitivity to sound, light and movement.
    Without the proper supports for survivors, brain injury can begin a
tragic downward spiral: A new study shows that more than half (53%) of
Toronto's homeless population and 44% of the province's prison population have
a history of brain injury.

    The Ontario Alliance for Action on Brain Injury (OAABI) was created in
2008 by Ontario's experts in brain injury. The Alliance is undertaking a
campaign to create public awareness of ABI. As well, it seeks to partner with
government in the development and implementation of a comprehensive strategy
to support brain injury survivors and their families in the community.
    At the Alliance's website - www.see-us.ca - visitors can learn more about
ABI, send an email to their MPP, view a video, and subscribe to a blog.
    Alliance members are: Ontario Brain Injury Association (OBIA), Toronto
ABI Network, The Provincial Acquired Brain Injury Advisory Committee (PABIAC),
The Ontario Association of Community-Based Boards for Acquired Brain Injury
Services (OACBABIS), and Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation (ONF).

For further information:

For further information: Rachel Sa, rachel@prpost.ca, (416) 454-7713

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