Can the human brain be off limits? Can we put that in size 65 font in the rule book?

Written by: Lianne Castelino

Published: Aug 26, 2011

Global News :

Wednesday, March 09, 2011 12:00 AM

Lianne Castelino is a mother of three, an award-winning TV journalist and entrepreneur. She produces educational resources for parents and caregivers, and is the co-founder of, an online community for parents by parents.

I’m not sure which part of this concept is difficult to understand or the
least bit confusing, but please indulge me. Hitting someone’s head
hurts. A barehanded slap, a punch, a gloved fist, an elbow — all of
the above.

When we add titanium-strength plastic hockey gear to
one of the previously mentioned limbs, the force really hurts. Add speed
and muscle to the protected limb and suddenly you have a cocktail of
pain which can do serious damage.

We teach our kids, or at least
we should be teaching them from a young age, not to hit each other —
family, friends, in the sandbox, on the swing, at recess wherever. Why
in the world would it possibly be okay to take a swat at someone’s head
on a hockey rink?

As a hockey mother of three, an avid sports fan
and a former sports broadcaster, I have witnessed this issue from every
key angle. I don’t get it.

I fully appreciate the physical nature
of hockey. I appreciate a good, clean bodycheck as much as anyone.
But night after night now for several months there is one highlight that
usually leaves me cringing. I don’t cringe easily. It might be two
guys duking it out in a fight —- this I have never understood because
swinging at another guy (especially if he is wearing his helmet) is
going to do severe damage to the hand and wrist — or needless,
mindless, often preventable injuries —- hits to the head.

Can the human brain simply be left off limits? Can we put that in size 65 font in the rule book please? I’ll draft the wording.

Last night another ugly, unfortunate incident in the NHL. A 6’9″ defencemen
(Zdeno Chara), the largest specimen in the league by a country mile,
could not bring himself to slow down his momentum, stop himself or
simply hang back on one play.

The result, he hurls his 6’9″ frame,
all that muscle, power and force into Max Pacioretty, a 6’2″ forward
with the Montreal Canadiens who was flying towards the boards for the
puck in front of his teams’ bench (where there is no glass) before
banging his head off the edge of boards/glass then crashing to the ice
with his head bouncing off the ice helplessly.

Pacioretty was
briefly unconscious, surrounded by a small army of medical and team
trainers before being delicately carted off the ice to a standing


I happen to believe Chara did not intentionally intend to injure his foe. But that really doesn’t matter. It happened.

The customary chat about concussions, injuries in sport, equipment
examination — yes, they will all occur today. But the damage has been
done on many levels.

The replay will be shown a zillion times,
photos everywhere and the next time I attend one of my kids’ hockey
games some yahoo kid is going to copy his NHL hockey hero.

Kids learn a ton from modelling the behaviour of their parents and others in authority.

That includes their hockey heroes and the like.

If we can just stop the insanity at the highest level (NHL), then perhaps
we will NOT have to worry about the trickle down effect to the minor
hockey rink.

Or perhaps we should send the NHL on a field trip to a
local playground so they can be taught that hitting to the head hurts,
every single time.

Published by: Lianne Castelino

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