Olympic Hockey Rules Designed to Minimize Brain Injuries

The men’s hockey tournament at the Vancouver Winter Olympics got underway last night. As a recent article in the New York Times details, though many of the players appearing in the Olympics come from the NHL, hockey played under international rules – including all games in the Olympics – differs in several significant ways from the game Americans are accustomed to seeing. Many of the rule changes are designed to minimize traumatic brain injuries.

As the newspaper writes: “The biggest difference is on checks to the head. While the N.H.L. continues to debate whether some hits to the head should be penalized, the I.I.H.F. (hockey’s international governing body) has outlawed them.”
Another obvious difference: international hockey – like college hockey here in the States – shows no tolerance for on-ice fighting. More subtle differences include rules requiring visors and the use of chin straps on players’ helmets, and mandating that a player whose helmet comes off leave the ice immediately.

Taken collectively, the rules demonstrate a pronounced concern for player safety and a desire to prevent traumatic head injuries. The result will be games that, while hard-hitting, more closely resemble what one sees regularly in Oregon and elsewhere at the college level, as opposed to the NHL or other North American professional leagues.

These rule differences will come as a relief to anyone who has ever contemplated the effects of an Oregon traumatic brain injury and the effect it can have on a loved one’s life. If a loved one has been the victim of a Portland brain injury, whether through sports or as the result of an auto or bicycle accident, consulting with a Portland, Oregon traumatic brain injury attorney is a painful, but essential, step in the process of rebuilding a family’s life. Depending on the nature and circumstances of the injury your family, or loved one, may be entitled to compensation that will help cover medical bills, lost wages or other expenses.

New York Times: At Olympics, an NHL rink, but not an NHL style