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Sports injuries

High-profile concussions in professional sports have increased awareness and concern about sports injuries and the health consequence for the public.

A concussion is a brain injury. Any blow to the head, face, neck or body that causes a sudden shaking or jarring of the brain inside the skull may cause a concussion.

Sports that involve contact or collisions – like hockey, soccer, football, rugby and basketball – are among those most commonly associated with concussions. However, a concussion can occur in any activity where a blow to the head, face or jaw or other force to the head occurs.

The CMA has taken positions that call for:

  • mandatory use of facial protection and helmets in hockey
  • use of helmets by cyclists, equestrians, downhill skiers and snowboarders


CMA positions

Head injuries and sports

The CMA policy on head injury and sport encourages parents, coaches and trainers to learn the signs, symptoms and long-term health consequences of concussions. Athletes with suspected concussion should be removed from play immediately and evaluated by a physician experienced in concussion management.

The most important treatment is rest — physical and cognitive. No one should return to play or vigorous activity while signs or symptoms of a concussion are present.

Bodychecking in hockey

Many studies have identified bodychecking as the primary source of hockey-related injuries, including concussions. The CMA’s position statement on bodychecking calls for the elimination of bodychecking from all levels of organized recreational and non-elite competitive male ice hockey.

The CMA also recommends delaying the introduction of bodychecking in elite male competitive leagues until players are 13-14 years of age. This will have a clear benefit in reducing the risk of injuries and concussions in young ice hockey players.


The Canadian Concussion Collaborative comprises 10 national medical and injury prevention organizations working to optimize the care of patients with concussion, and improve knowledge within the medical community on recognition, treatment and management of concussion..

Five things to know about concussion (for health professionals)
Things to know about concussions (for the public)