A statement by the NHL players’ association chief that it could consider making helmet use compulsory during ice hockey fights is a welcome move. These injuries and fatalities must be prevented and controlled and needs no further discussion. Players who refuse to wear helmets during fights should be banned from playing hockey. The public health community has a societal duty to speak up on behalf of those who are vulnerable to injury, as well as to the economics of treatment and lack of prevention.
Injuries cost our health-care system so significantly. Injuries account for $12 billion of health-care expenditures per year. After cancer and cardiovascular disease, injuries are the most costly condition for our health-care system. Injury is the leading cause of death and hospitalization of Canadians under 45 and the fourth leading cause of death among all Canadians.