Concussions have been a hot topic lately and the junior leagues are no different. Luckily the USHL has stronger fighting rules than in the past. A 10-minute game misconduct is issued to any fighting major and anything over that gets a 15-minute game misconduct.
While this may not seem like much in terms of a change, it is only five minutes, it can mean a lot in hockey. It doesn’t take long for another team to take the lead and fighting could keep a player out of the action for longer than they’d like. It’ll certainly be a change for the coaches and will force them to take a stance against or for their players still taking the fights and just dealing with the extras minutes awarded.
Younger athletes are more perceptible to brain injuries and concussions are most commonly caused in hockey players by a right or left hook to the jaw. The force this applies to the brain is enough of a whiplash effect that it fairly easily concusses the recipient of the punch. Boy’s necks are weaker when they’re still growing and so they’re brain is already not as well supported as adults. The younger the player, the worse it is to get a brain injury since they aren’t yet fully developed and are the most likely to have lasting damage from a brain injury.
The CJHL has an immediate ejection from the game when there’s a fight, which may be something that the USHL should aspire to. There’s no place for fighting in a junior league because there’s no point in putting that player in danger’s way just to prove that they’re a tough player.
Hopefully within the next few years the USHL will find a way to curb fighting even more to try and eliminate injuries as much as possible among junior hockey players.
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