The 2015 movie “Concussion” starring Will Smith as an accomplished pathologist Dr. Bennet Omalu who brings forth the direct correlation between concussion and American football is a stark reminder of the perils of contact sport.
Stories from the movie though are all too common even today. Take for instance, sports played at amateur level or even college level where safety is never given priority. Wearing a helmet is often laughed upon, not even frowned. But, the incidence of concussion among players in hockey, football and soccer is no small thing. Eventually, those who suffer from this condition are left with only one alternative – either wear a helmet or never play again. Even soccer has seen the likes of Peter Cech – a goalie who has to wear a special headgear to protect against any head injury because his doctor’s warned him that he may never play again if he endures another head trauma.
Sports and concussion among sportsmen has sufficient evidence now. Collected from all over the world, the long term and short term consequences of concussion is putting forward a rather compelling story – it is a public issue and not just to those who play sports but to all in general.
All the evidence points in one direction – helmet protects lives and prolongs a player’s career.
Canada has taken the initiative with Hall of Famers, Paralympians, medical experts, coaches, parents, Olympians, government leaders and professional athletes all coming together at Rideau Hall to discuss on the issue and come to a collective understanding.
Sport Canada is partnering and organizing this conference and subject matter experts from across the country, as well as the world will be holding webinars, seminars and talks. The goal is to reach grass root levels and begin as early as school promoting safe sports and the need of preventing brain injuries altogether.
Playing sports is a tradition in many households but the incidence of concussion taking lives, destroying futures, ruining playing careers as shown by research and survey on a global scale points in only one direction – change.
As a country, Canada aims at doing something that other nations can follow as example – making sports safer for all generations. No one has to stop playing if the risks can be reduced and that is the ultimate goal of this conference.