Friday, October 31, 2008

NHL Update

With new stories focusing on NHL player being hit from behind, as well as being hit in the head, news released at the National Academy of Neuropsychology Conference comes at a good time.

The NHL and the NHL Players Association had yet to release or otherwise present data from their multi-year concussion management program. However, data was presented on October 21st in New York. Incidence statistics:
Seven hundred and fifty-nine National Hockey League players have been diagnosed with concussions since 1997, or an average of about 76 players per season and 31 concussions per 1,000 hockey games.(cite)

Utility of cognitive testing:
Thirty percent of NHL players diagnosed with concussions have normal physical readings but abnormal neuropsychological testing scores

Games missed due to concussion:
While frequency of concussions didn't change much from the 2005-06 season to 2006-07, games missed due to concussion, the number of games players missed because of concussions and related problems jumped 41 percent

Other data presented at the conference, but not included in the ESPN article include history of concussion:
There were no differences on baseline neuropsychological test scores as a function of self-reported history of concussion

Symptom reporting:
30% of a sub-sample of 300 players reported no concussion-related symptoms but had neuropsychological test scores that fell below normal ranges. An additional 11% had normal neutopsychological test scores but reported symptoms related to concussion.

This is interesting data, and I hope that we will see more details in a publication soon.