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Brain Injury Safety Tips and Prevention

Prevention Tips 

  • Limit the amount of contact during practices. This may include:
    • Limiting the amount of practice time that includes scrimmages or full-speed drills.
  • The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends:11
    • Expanding the availability of non-contact hockey programs.
    • Limiting body checking in competition to athletes age 15 and over and to elite levels of youth ice hockey.
    • Teaching body-checking skills in practices only for athletes age 13 years and over who are geared to elite participation.
  • Keep a close eye on athletes in the wing position—who are at increased risk for concussion.
  • Enforce the rules of the sport for fair play, safety, and sportsmanship.
  • Ensure athletes avoid unsafe actions such as:
    • Hitting another athlete in the head;
    • Using their helmet to contact another athlete (helmet-to-helmet or helmet-to-body contact);
    • Making illegal contacts or checking or colliding with an unprotected opponent; and/or
    • Trying to injure or put another athlete at risk for injury.
  • Make sure athletes always wear a helmet that fits well and is in good condition.
  • Work with the game or event administrator to remove tripping hazards and ensure that equipment has padding that is in good condition.

Why This Is Important

  • Concussions are 13 times more likely to happen during competitions versus practice in high school ice hockey.7
  • Almost two-thirds (64%) of concussions in high school ice hockey resulted from contact with another athlete.7
  • About 1 in 3 concussions in high school ice hockey (30%) result from being checked.7
  • Half of concussions in high school ice hockey are sustained by athletes in the wing position.


Helmet Fact Sheets

Generic Sports Helmets

Hockey Helmets

Hockey Goalie Helmets



  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2015). CONCUSSION AT PLAY: Opportunities to Reshape the Culture Around Concussion(https://www.cdc.gov/headsup/resources/playbook.html). Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
  2. Kerr ZY, Register-Mihalik JK, Marshall SW, Evenson KR, Mihalik JP, Guskiewicz KM (2014). Disclosure and non-disclosure of concussion and concussion symptoms in athletes: Review and application of the socio-ecological framework. Brain Inj. 2014;28(8):1009-21. 4
  3. Register-Mihalik JK, Guskiewicz KM, McLeod TC, Linnan LA, Mueller FO, Marshall SW. (2013). Knowledge, attitude, and concussion-reporting behaviors among high school athletes: A preliminary study. J Athl Train, July 12, 2013.
  4. Chrisman, S. P., Quitiquit, C., Rivara, F. P. (2013). Qualitative Study of Barriers to Concussive Symptom Reporting in High School Athletics. J Adolesc Health. March, 2013, 52(3): 330-335.
  5. Rivara FP, Schiff MA, Chrisman SP, Chung SK, Ellenbogen RG, Herring SA. (2014). The effect of coach education on reporting of concussions among high school athletes after passage of a concussion law. Amer J Sports Med, May, 2014, 42(5):1197-1203.
  6. Collins CL, Fields SK, Comstock RD. (2008). When the rules of the game are broken: What proportion of high school sports-related injuries are related to illegal activity? Inj Prev, 14(1):34-38.
  7. Marar M, McIlvain N, Fields S, Comstock RD. Epidemiology of Concussions Among United States High School Athletes in 20 Sports. Amer J Sports Med, April 2012, 40(4):747-755.
  8. Bramley H, Patrick K, Lehman E, Silvis M. (2012). High school soccer players with concussion education are more likely to notify their coach of a suspected concussion. (2012). Clin Pediatr(Phila), 2012 April, 51(4):332-336.
  9. Kerr ZY, Yeargin S, Valovich McLeod TC, Nittoli VC, Mensch J, Dodge T, Hayden R, Dompier TP (2015). Comprehensive Coach Education and Practice Contact Restriction Guidelines Result in Lower Injury Rates in Youth American Football. Orthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine, 3(7):1-8.
  10. American Academy of Pediatrics. Tackling in Youth Football. Pediatrics. 2015 Nov;136(5).
  11. American Academy of Pediatrics. Reducing injury risk from body checking in boys' youth ice hockey. Pediatrics. 2014 Jun;133(6):1151-7