Head Shots Have No Place In Sports: NDP

September 7, 2011

OTTAWA  –  All across the country, Canadians are expressing concern about the impacts of head injuries on the lives of hockey players. This is why New Democrats want to ensure that all the necessary measures are being taken to avoid sport-related injuries – and in particular, injuries leading to concussions.

 “For more than a year, the NDP has been asking the government to seriously address the issue of violence in sports,” said New Democrat Sports critic Pierre Nantel (Longueuil – Pierre Boucher). “The growing number of concussions and other types of head injuries is robbing our teams of their best players. Is that the example we want to give to the youth of Canada? It isn’t. And it isn’t what Canadians want to see.”

 Last winter, New Democrat MP Glenn Thibeault (Sudbury) tabled C-616, a bill that would create a national strategy to reduce serious injuries in amateur sport. This strategy includes the creation of a head injuries registry, as well as clear guidelines to ensure athletes only return to the sport after being authorized to do so by a recognized medical professional.

 The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and the Ontario Hockey League decided to act and they recently announced that heavy penalties would be imposed for all shots to the head. Similar measures could easily be imposed on professional leagues as well, where games are often faster and more violent. 

 “Amateur and professional leagues should not wait to lose their best players to concussions or other head injuries,” concluded Nantel. “Being aware of the dangers athletes face, the least we can do as parliamentarians is ensure that young people can practice their favorite sports in a safe environment.”