Unfortunately in hockey, another injury threat is concussions. They can happen with pucks hitting you in the head, collisions, or the unfortunate run in with a dirty player and the head check. Concussions can end lives, destroy lives, and ruin your hockey career prematurely. Everyone on the team should be helping each other more if you suspect if you or your teammate might have a concussion and you can be the first to help them. Here’s what to look for symptoms to look for according to the Mayo Clinic.
- Headache or a feeling of pressure in the head
- Temporary loss of consciousness
- Confusion or feeling as if in a fog
- Amnesia surrounding the traumatic event
- Dizziness or "seeing stars"
- Ringing in the ears
- Slurred speech
- Delayed response to questions
- Appearing dazed
Unfortunately another sword in the hockey and head injury department is delayed concussion symptoms. These are additional symptoms to look for and if you suspect it, seek medical attention IMMEDIATELY! These are the symptoms identified by the Mayo Clinic for delayed concussion symptoms.
- Concentration and memory complaints
- Irritability and other personality changes
- Sensitivity to light and noise
- Sleep disturbances
- Psychological adjustment problems and depression
- Disorders of taste and smell
No matter what, I cannot emphasize enough to seek immediate medical attention even if it turns out you don’t have one which would be good news. I strongly encourage no dry land training and staying off the ice until you are fully cleared by your doctor.
There is a theory that sport mouth guards can safe guard you against concussions but it has not been fully proven. Some of the benefits are in belief.
- Distribute the force to the upper jaw.
- Increase separation to the jaw to the head reducing some of the force to the head.
- Stabilize the head and neck muscles.
For many hockey players who play at the adult level with full face protection may lack wearing a mouth guard but even if this a theory, I would want to reduce ways that I could end up with a concussion.
Some of the excuses that I have heard of senior level hockey players with full face protection will justify it with being protected with full face protection, being an adult, uncomfortable, and invincible.
Now for the mouth guards being uncomfortable, the ones that come in the store may not fit the female head fully. The adult mouth guards may be too bulky and will not fit but the youth are too short. Unfortunately, if this is your situation; this may be a trip to your dentist for them to make you a custom mouth guard. For those who have a bad relationship with your dentist; grin and bear it. Secondly; as a hockey player I don’t want to end up losing teeth like my male hockey playing counterparts. Look at this way; even some of the most notorious goons in the NHL wear them as well.