Canadian Chiropractors Would like Ban on Kids Bodychecking in Hockey

The Canadian Hockey Association, following a three-year pilot project, decided to permit checking for the 2002-2003 season at the Atom level, that reduces the age that bodychecking starts from twelve to nine. Soon after this determination, the Canadian Chiropractic Association opposed permitting young minor hockey players to bodycheck, stating it can result in long-term developmental problems.

Dr. Greg Stewart, president of the Canadian Chiropractic Association replied by stating, "It's a move I believe they need to reconsider." He continued to say, "Boys who are nine, they don't possess the skill development to take a proper hit or to give one. They do not possess the stability, they don't have the balance in the skates and they do not have the muscular strength. There is certainly more to it than the devastating injuries," he said. "Tissue injuries at this age can result in longer-term consequences."

The article on this debate appeared in the Canadian Press of Wednesday, January 29, 2003. The article noted that bone formation does not begin to mature until a child reaches puberty, Stewart explained, and injuries to immature bone structures in young players can cause deviations in bone development.

The Canadian Hockey Association based its decision on a study out of Lakehead University which compared injuries in a group of children that was allowed to bodycheck to a group that was not. The study concluded introducing bodychecking at the age of nine to twelve didn't significantly increase the risk of injuries to players. The Canadian Chiropractic Association recently criticized the Lakehead study's methodology, saying it was flawed and actually proved the reverse, that there were more injuries. "We're not actually jumping on anyone else's bandwagon," said Dr. Stewart. "We're looking at it from a profession that treats all ages and we want young boys to develop into healthy young men.

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