Bodychecking more than triples the risk of injury and concussion in peewee hockey, according to a study conducted by the University of Calgary.
Researchers compared rates of injury between peewee teams in Alberta and Quebec.
Bodychecking is allowed at the peewee level in Alberta but not in Quebec. Peewee hockey players are 11 and 12 years old.
The study was conducted during the 2007-08 season on 74 boys teams from Alberta (1,108 players) and 76 from Quebec (1,046 players).
There were 209 injuries in Alberta compared to 70 in Quebec, according to the study. In a breakdown of injury types, the study determined that there were 73 severe injuries and concussions in Alberta versus 20 in Quebec. A total of 14 severe concussions occurred in Alberta to four in Quebec.
Quebec introduces bodychecking at the bantam level when players are 13 and 14.
“It’s certainly shown that playing in a peewee league where bodychecking is permitted is associated with a more than three-fold increased risk of injury, concussion, severe injury, severe concussion compared to a league where bodychecking is not permitted at the same level of play,” says lead researcher Carolyn Emery of the University of Calgary.