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Sudbury hockey players test concussion sensors

01/20/2012 09:41 EST | Updated 03/21/2012 05:12 EDT

The Sudbury Lady Wolves Midget Double-B Hockey Team is now outfitted with special helmets.

The players' helmets are equipped with Bluetooth sensors that monitor the impact should a player sustain a blow to the head.

Brian Band, coach of the team, said he's looking forward to using the technology.

“[The information] goes to a smartphone and you can see right away if there's an impact,” Band said.

“It immediately tells you the player and the number and what happened. It gives you an idea so we can monitor it and you can see the impact and how strong it was and go from there. And hey, you might have been seriously hurt. I think it's an awesome device."

So far this season, three players on his team have been out due to concussions, Band said. He added all players who suffer a head injury need to have a doctor's note to return to the ice.

Advocate for reducing concussions

Sudbury NDP MP and sports critic Glenn Thibeault was on hand as the team laced up before testing the new concussion sensor system designed to help coaches and trainers fight the growing epidemic of concussions in sport. (Brian Band is also the communications director and outreach co-ordinator at Thibeault’s constituency office.)

“Concussions are not as obvious as other injuries and for years have gone undiagnosed or worse ignored as a serious problem,” Thibeault said. “For the sake of the boys and girls who play hockey and other contact sports we need to make sure that we not only have the proper rules in place but also the right techniques and equipment to prevent and diagnose these serious brain injuries.”

Thibeault has advocated for reducing concussions in hockey and other sports and put forward a bill in the House of Commons to reduce the growing number of concussions in amateur sport. He said linking local hockey associations with emerging industry leaders is integral to curbing the concussion epidemic.

“We tend to see concussions as only a problem in the major leagues however it is an epidemic across amateur hockey as well and crosses the gender barrier too,” Thibeault said.

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