Ethical Issues Surrounding Concussions and Player Safety in Professional Ice Hockey

Abstract

Concussions in professional sports have received increased attention, which is partly attributable to evidence that found concussion incidence rates were much higher than previously thought (Echlin et al. Journal of Neurosurgical Focus 29:1–10, 2010). Further to this, professional hockey players articulated how their concussion symptoms affected their professional careers, interpersonal relationships, and qualities of life (Caron et al. Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology 35:168–179, 2013). Researchers are beginning to associate multiple/repeated concussions with Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), a structural brain injury that is characterized by tau protein deposits in distinct areas of the brain (McKee et al. Brain 136:43–64, 2013). Taken together, concussions impact many people in the sporting community from current and former professional athletes and their families to medical and health professionals and researchers. In light of the growing awareness and sensitivity towards concussions, the purpose of this paper is to provide recommendations that are designed to improve player safety in professional hockey and address the ethical issues surrounding these suggestions.

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Correspondence to Jeffrey G. Caron.

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Caron, J.G., Bloom, G.A. Ethical Issues Surrounding Concussions and Player Safety in Professional Ice Hockey. Neuroethics 8, 5–13 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12152-014-9210-7

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Keywords

  • Concussions
  • Ice hockey
  • Professional sports
  • Safety