Tuesday, October 20, 2009
I'm linking to a short take in BusinessWeek (second item) on the new M11 hockey helmet. The story is that this helmet protects against head injuries far better than the helmets almost everybody is wearing, NHL to biddy leagues.
Head injuries in hockey are getting closer attention these days. As I write in the BW article, some studies indicate that 10 to 20 per cent of teen hockey players suffer a concussion each season. If that is so, many - most? - teen players are affected before they hang up their skates after high school. And that says nothing about other head blows, ones that, while serious, do not cause concussions. Chilling stuff.
Mark Messier, the NHL Hall of Famer, helped develop the new helmet with Cascade Sport. Messier is on the board of Cascade Sport. So there's no attempt here to paint this as purely a mission of mercy. Speaking with him about the so-called Messier Project, though, I was impressed that this is about more than making a buck. He hopes to get NHL players to wear the helmet - this year, eight are. And in time, to have millions of kids following the lead of their hockey heroes.
My first question for Messier, who played 25 seasons in the NHL, was: How many concussions did you have in your career? He said he couldn't remember, and we had a laugh - a nervous laugh - about that.