I grew up in the 1970s, when the public elementary schools flooded the playgrounds and created rinks, and we skated at lunchtime.
We didn’t wear helmets, simply because it was before society became aware of head safety and the serious — and often permanent — health implications that even the slightest jolt can cause. It wasn’t until 1979 when helmets became mandatory equipment in professional hockey that people started to notice.
Last year, the Ontario Injury Prevention Resource Centre reported there were 928 emergency room visits in 2010 involving concussions caused by falls while either skiing or skating. A helmet will not prevent concussions in all cases, but there is strong evidence that in most cases, they can prevent them, or at least reduce the seriousness of them significantly.
In light of the mounting research on concussions and the impact they have both in and out of the classroom, the Ontario Liberal government introduced Bill 39, Education Amendment Act (Concussions), 2012.
This bill, if passed, would require every school board in Ontario to establish policies and guidelines respecting head injuries and concussions. The Toronto District School Board was the first in Canada to create a concussion policy and safety program. It did this in 2011, even before this bill was introduced.
Read the full letter at therecord.com