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Thread: Concussions in Figure Skating

  1. #91
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    Well I will say as a Skate Mom that my biggest fear is brain injury. My son started figure skating after he had been skateboarding for a while. He was already used to wearing a helmet for skateboarding and to me ice skating is really not very different. So I said he had to wear a helmet. Although he was the only non-toddler on the ice with a helmet, he wore it consistently and never complained about it. He understood - his brain is THE most important part of his body. He has to protect it as well as he can.

    After a year of skating, coaches started telling me to take the helmet off. Of course not OUR coach though, she respected our decision. But she did explain that spins and jumps are going to get more difficult to do with a helmet since the helmet changes the weight distribution. So I sought out alternatives and now he skates with a RIB CAP, which is not a helmet but does offer some protection. He wears it all the time except for competition.

    What we need is a specialized helmet designed for figure skating. If it were lightweight and thin but offered significant protection then I think it could work.

  2. #92
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    Incredibly thorny question. I can understand people thinking that health comes before anything and yes, we all agree on that except... all sports, all physical activities include risks of getting hurt. So in reality, it's a balance. Coming from a sport where head injuries made guys not being able to walk out of bed in a dark room for weeks and months, it's shocking to read that Ashley Wagner had 5 concussions.

    Slowing down the sport on purpose is taking it away as a sport and we can just have ice shows then. A helmet is one option, although that would not help against whiplash. Helmets, also, you can't make them thin. Then they do nothing. Skating around in the JOFA helmet Wayne Gretzky had was like putting a big eggshell on your head, protection was basically zero.
    It would have to be real helmets and it would take a long time for the figure skating community to adjust, and the audience. I mean, can you imagine Karen Chen in a thick helmet? I know it shouldn't matter how it looks but it does to most people.

    I see a mix of education, personal responsibility and regulations as a realistic answer. Make sure all skaters know the risks involved, teach them how to avoid head falls as much as that is possible, have regulations to wear a helmet up to a certain age, make it mandatory to leave ice after a fall where head is involved, make it mandatory to pass concussion tests etc.

    I have seen elite skaters fall badly and still keep skating through a session even if it's apparent they are not feeling well. I know there is a bit of a pride in the "you fall, get up and try again" but sometimes that is just stupidity.

  3. #93
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hockeyguy View Post
    Incredibly thorny question. I can understand people thinking that health comes before anything and yes, we all agree on that except... all sports, all physical activities include risks of getting hurt. So in reality, it's a balance.
    .
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    I see a mix of education, personal responsibility and regulations as a realistic answer. Make sure all skaters know the risks involved, teach them how to avoid head falls as much as that is possible, have regulations to wear a helmet up to a certain age, make it mandatory to leave ice after a fall where head is involved, make it mandatory to pass concussion tests etc.

    I have seen elite skaters fall badly and still keep skating through a session even if it's apparent they are not feeling well. I know there is a bit of a pride in the "you fall, get up and try again" but sometimes that is just stupidity.
    Welcome to GS Hockeyguy!

    That was a very cogent post. Please keep them coming. Hope you will find other discussions that you wish to weigh in on...

  4. #94
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    Quote Originally Posted by VegMom View Post
    Well I will say as a Skate Mom that my biggest fear is brain injury. ....

    Welcome to GS VegMom!

    Hope you find lots to write about here....

    BTW I'm also a skate mum...

    Mine weren't in the rib caps as they arrived in our area just after our young skaters were beyond them. And we really don't see the rib caps in use beyond what is in Canada the STAR 1 level [was prepreliminary C in the past, but is the lowest level for events in figure skating after basic skating].

    That said, Skate Canada absolutely does not permit any skater which has not passed CanSkate stage 5 [i.e. basic skating] to be on the ice at any time without a fully certified hockey helmet. Period. No exceptions, or the club loses it's liability insurance coverage.

    This means that kids that may be starting the STARSkate figure skating program, but haven't met the full set of CanSkate 5 requirements [in control, balance, and agility] will have to wear a helmet. Even for tests and competitions. Judges are officially required not to take the helmet as a reason to mark a skater down. One of our young skaters went through an early test with a helmet on due to this legal requirement.

    We see a lot more of the halos [band with some protection] at the lower STARSkate levels, but we aren't seeing them being worn in competition.

    But as Hockeyskater noted, coaches are aware that in figure skating, many of the concussions are not due to hits to the head. They are due to percussive falls. A hard and flat fall on the body, especially when doing the higher rotation jumps at speed, can make the head flop and shake. Doesn't matter if the head hits the ice. And a series of these in one skating session can build up into a serious concussion.

    So, different preventive techniques are needed. Some have discussed falls training, strengthening necks to avoiding flopping heads, and ensuring that a skater is assessed, and leaves the ice if necessary, after a hard hit --- whether or not the head hit the ice.

    In the end....more solid scientific evidence is needed to know what will really make the difference.....which is why I felt it important to post that in Canada the brain specialists working in this area are being acknowledged by the sports community.

  5. #95
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    Quote Originally Posted by TGee View Post
    Dr. Charles Tator, a concussion specialist, has been inducted into the Sports Hall of Fame in Canada for his work.

    He writes in CBC Sports "Player's Own Voice" feature this week in favour of legislative efforts support injury prevention, while not specifically related to figure skating, he emphasizes the importance of having evidence to support changes in practice:

    http://www.cbc.ca/playersvoice/entry...cussion-debate

    Among other initiatives, he discusses how an injury registry for Hockey in Canada has played a role in supporting efforts to decrease the number of spinal injuries.
    I know the USFSA doesn't care about concussions, which is why their response is very lazy (here are some PDFs and word documents, go away now) but it's interesting that Canada has an injury registery. Something that can keep track of who is getting injured and what types.

    In figure skating, we don't even know how many or how often skaters get concussions.

  6. #96
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    Here is a very honest and eye-opening story about getting a concussion.

    https://www.theplayerstribune.com/we...ons-right-now/

    Btw, who will be the first figure skater to contribute to The Player's Tribute? I wish there was some contact form or e-mail so we could start pushing for it.

  7. #97
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    Canadians.......Do you remember Wade Belak? He was a giant hockey player who was on battle of blades. He was known for getting into some brawls and I wonder if he suffered from concussion related PTSD. Junior Seau suddenly "went off the rails" according to his family and committed suicide and a study of his brain revealed that was suffering from concussion related effects.

  8. #98
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    http://www.icenetwork.com/news/2017/09/11/253667206

    I'm reading that the ISU may be lowering the point values for jumps. I think this is great. With less emphasis on jumps, the concussion rate and severity of concussions will definitely decrease.

    Triple Toe: 4.3 -> 4.2
    Triple Salchow: 4.4 -> 4.3
    Triple Loop: 5.1 -> 4.9
    Triple Flip: 5.3 -> 5.3
    Triple Lutz: 6.0 -> 5.9

    Triple Axel: 8.5 -> 8.0
    Quad Toe: 10.3 -> 9.5
    Quad Salchow: 10.5 -> 9.7
    Quad Loop: 12.0 -> 10.5
    Quad Flip: 12.3 -> 11.0
    Quad Lutz: 13.6 -> 11.5

  9. #99
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    Here's an interesting article about a study about concussions, showing that teenage girls have slower recoveries from concussions than do teenage boys: http://www.cbc.ca/radio/whitecoat/bl...ions-1.4316268

  10. #100
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    Quote Originally Posted by brightphoton View Post
    http://www.icenetwork.com/news/2017/09/11/253667206

    I'm reading that the ISU may be lowering the point values for jumps. I think this is great. With less emphasis on jumps, the concussion rate and severity of concussions will definitely decrease.

    Triple Toe: 4.3 -> 4.2
    Triple Salchow: 4.4 -> 4.3
    Triple Loop: 5.1 -> 4.9
    Triple Flip: 5.3 -> 5.3
    Triple Lutz: 6.0 -> 5.9

    Triple Axel: 8.5 -> 8.0
    Quad Toe: 10.3 -> 9.5
    Quad Salchow: 10.5 -> 9.7
    Quad Loop: 12.0 -> 10.5
    Quad Flip: 12.3 -> 11.0
    Quad Lutz: 13.6 -> 11.5
    Sorry but i don't think lowering base value has anything to do with concussions... they happen on other elements as well ... and on top of that... if a skater has the potential to do quads, they will keep doing quads because it still means more points...

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