Let him play?


My 16 year old kid plays a contact sport, hockey, and had 2 concussions this year, one left him with a headache for a month and the second for a couple of days. After the second one, he was done for the year, even though it wasn’t severe; it was our decision, not his.

He’s had precautionary CAT scans, which showed everything OK, thank God. The neurologist says that after 6 months, everything is healed as well as it will be, and really cannnot tell us what the chances of a more severe or longer lasting injury would be if he continued to play, because there’s so many variables and each injury and patient is unique.

Up until now, although he wants to play again, my position has been no way. After consulting with the neurologist, I’m having second thoughts about allowing him to play next year. Based on the doctor’s advice, it seems up to me whether or not he plays next year.

So, what to do? Be cautious? Overly cautious? I couldn’t find the answer in the Owner’s manual. :wink:


I’d let him play next year, but I’d also encourage him to bulk up over the summer by lifting weights. Have you spoken with his coach? Maybe there are some exercises he can perform to help him be a bit more agile and get out of the way of some of these crashes! :wink: OR maybe he needs to learn how to fall better/safer. There’s gotta be some strategy that he can learn to help him stay safe and all one piece!



First of all, since I am a male who plays hockey in an adult league, I may be biased.

I would second the above. Are is concussons due to accidental collisions? Slamming into the boards while trying to beat an opponent to the puck? Or, are there “dirty” players or teams that are notorious for taking a lot of “cheap shots”?

Another thing would be to make sure his helmet is adjusted properly - not too tight, not too loose.


I would personally not. Brain damage will happen if there is another concussion (it might only be very slight, but still.) ADD like symptoms could also occur, which can cause trouble in school, and hider him academically. Concussions are very serious, if he has another concussion he might be OK, but he also could be effected the rest of his life. I’ve has friends who have had to drop out of college from the negative effects of having two concussions while playing inter-mural sports.

It wouldn’t hurt to get an opinion from another specialist.


Get him a better helmet before you let him back on the ice. Canadian Cycle and Motor makes very good equipment. They supply to a great number of professional hockey players. If you use an adjustable helmet, be sure that it is fitted correctly to offer maximum protection.
Skate on.



I believe CCM is Canadian Cycle and Marine. :slight_smile:

Anyway, thanks for the tips. He has a top-notch well-fitted helmet, but if we do this we’ll get the best available. Right now we’re working out; I’ve told him that we’re considering letting him play, depending on how dedicated he is to working out and reaching strength and agility goals that we’re setting for him.

I used to play hockey and have been weight training for 35 years, and the plan is to get him into better strength shape in general for a month then move into hockey-specific weight training.

Right now the answer is “maybe”, and I’ve made it quite clear that maybe means just that; that it’s not a yes.

I didn’t see the first incident, but apparently he was on the end of a routine, clean check and didn’t really know that he was concussed; his headache didn’t start until later when he was sitting on the bench. The second time, it was after a play and he got tangled up with an opposing player, and the other kid yanked his stick and he did a bananna-slip fall flat onto his back. It was kinda a freak thing, not intentional by any means, and he was just caught off balance.

I’m still concerned about the long-term affects if we let him play and another one occurs…:shrug:


Well a teammate of mine had 7 concussions and he’s fine :stuck_out_tongue: Thought the doctor said if he had another one, there would be some major irreversible damage.
I’d say let him play…how is he getting most of his concussions? Bad hits? Collisions with the boards?


My kids are nowhere near their teens yet, but my first instinct says “No.” It sound like what you’re dealing with, first off, is all the pressure of being the one to make the decision, since the doc isn’t backing you up here. But not being the one who has to decide, and not being under any pressure, I can say objectively that it doesn’t seem at all unreasonable to keep him out of hockey if you are uncomfortable with it. We’re not talking about an paranoid parent who just wants Junior never to get a scratch. Instead, Junior has already proven the danger of this sport in the form of two concussions. :ouch: Even if there had been only one isolated incident, I might have said, “Well, anything can happen once.” But twice means something else to me. It means this is a hazardous sport, and the stakes are rather high.

Some parents worry about their kids getting a knee or shoulder injury in football. Others worry about a broken nose in karate. None of those is pleasant, of course, but even when they don’t heal over quite like they should, life pretty much goes on (minus the sport, sometimes). But when the part of the anatomy at risk is your son’s brain – the thing that controls his eating, breathing, motion, reason, decision-making, moods, imagination, etc., etc. – all of a sudden the whole “overprotective parent” argument loses its persuasiveness.

It is not being overprotective when a pattern is established and the thing at risk is a young man’s brain. So if you don’t feel good about it, tell him to take up something a little less dangerous … like gator wrestling. :cool:


I know that concussions are being taken much more seriously around here. There are a few teams that are having their players tested before the season starts so that the have something to compare any later scans to. I mean, if they take a scan after an injury, they may not know what normal is for that person.

I’m an overly cautious person, but I think that potential brain damage is serious and grounds for not playing anymore, but that’s just me.

Perhaps a second opinon with a specialist in sports concussions?


As far as a second opinion, we have to realize that no doctor is going to say, Yes, it’s OK for him to play, lawsuits what they are today. (They’ve got an option on the phone menu at the neurologist’s office for lawyers!)

As well, every patient and every injury is different, so the answer is going to be, “It depends on the extent of the (next) consussion”, which is a fair assessment. Neurolgical diseases are difficult to predict but as mentioned, can be permanent and that’s my concern.

Sigh…they never said being a parent was going to be easy…


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