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On March 25, Dr. Charles Tator took live questions from Globe and Mail readers about head injuries in hockey. Dr. Tator, Neurosurgeon at the Krembil Neuroscience Centre, has criticized the sport's rough nature and calls for a season-long suspension for a head shot and a lifetime ban from all organized hockey leagues if the player does it a second time. His criticism even sparked a debate with Don Cherry, Host, Hockey Night in Canada.
The hour-long question and answer period elicited a big response, expecially from concerned family and friends of people who had experienced a concussion. One reader told of how a brother had been in and out of psychiatric wards after a series of skiing accidents.
"My brother has had a number of concussions as a result from competitive downhill skiing and has ultimately changed him forever," wrote the reader, who then called for more research in this area.
Another reader wondered if the NHL would change their approach if they were held accountable for financial costs associated with a player's head trauma. "We have been trying very hard to engage the NHL and NHLPA in efforts to reduce concussions in hockey, and I feel that they are now listening," Dr. Tator responded.
He concluded with a call to all sports organizing bodies, both amateur and professional, to protect their athletes. "[They] need to consider the health of the men and women who participate and earn a living from sport. It is in the best interests of all concerned, and certainly in their business interests, to promote safety."