Hockey, The Brain, and CTE Emily Carrier, Emily Stevens, Aidan Donnelly, Liam Sullivan


CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy): is a progressive degenerative disease of the brain found in people that have had a history of repetitive brain trauma, as well as symptomatic concussions and sub-concussive hits to the head that do not cause symptoms. This repeated brain trauma will cause progressive degeneration of the brain tissue, including the build-up of an abnormal protein called tau.

Symptoms: Symptoms can include memory loss, aggression, confusion, suicidality, impaired judgment, impulse control problems, depression, anxiety, parkinsonism, and, eventually, progressive dementia. These symptoms often begin years or even decades after the last brain trauma or end of active athletic involvement.

Treatment: At the moment there is no cure for CTE, although , the CTE Center is currently doing ongoing clinical research aimed at finding how CTE develops and progresses, risk factors for the development of the disease, and how to diagnose the disease during life. Although the symptoms related with CTE, such as depression and anxiety, can be treated individually.

Diagnosis: There is currently not a completely reliable way to diagnose CTE. To reliably diagnose CTE it requires evidence of degeneration of brain tissue and deposits of tau and other proteins in the brain that can be seen only under inspection after death.

The brain

The brain is made of three major parts. They are the forebrain, midbrain, and hindbrain. The forebrain is made of the cerebrum, thalamus, and hypothalamus. The midbrain includes the tectum and tegmentum. The hindbrain consists of the cerebellum, pons and medulla. Usually the midbrain, pons, and medulla are grouped together and are referred to as the brainstem

  • Frontal Lobe- reasoning ,movement, emotions, planning, parts of speech, and problem solving
  • Parietal Lobe- with movement, perception of stimuli, orientation, recognition
  • Occipital Lobe- visual processing
  • Temporal Lobe- perception and recognition of auditory stimuli, memory, and speech

Ice hockey and the Helmet

Ice hockey is known for the extremely high amounts of concussions. The game is played at a high rate of speed on an ice rink enclosed by large boards. Players in this sport are larger and faster, playing at a speed of 30 mph and come in contact with hard surfaces including glass, ice, goal posts, pucks, sticks, and fellow players.

Our ideas...

In order to ensure the greatest protection for hockey players head, so they don't receive conclusions and brain trauma, we have devised a revolutionary helmet that will protect players from harm.

Hard blows to head, either from players or pucks, is a great concern; however, awkwardly positioned blows cause more trauma and disruption to the player when he is hit. Therefore the main focus of our helmet is to create a protective and contoured barrier that fits like a second skin to the player's head.

This will be done by creating a two part helmet, similar to ones that are used in football, that has a hard outer shell of the helmet, a softer, more padded contoured helmet that tightly fits around the head, and a heavy duty chin strap that keeps your head tightly in place.

We decided to put a small layer of space between the outer layer and the inner layer, which are connected through foam pads that further absorbs shock and protects the head from impact.

The inner layer is the most important, and is comprised of a plastic support frame with insulated foam and padding. There is also latex and elastic fiber to allow for the inner part of the helmet to fit on the player comfortably. This support and comfort is done to ensure that the helmet fits and is contoured to the hard, so there is no wiggle room for the head to move and become awkwardly hit.


The presence of concussions in the game of football have been such a worry for years and in turn the helmet has become more advanced in the way of preventing concussions. The worry of concussions in hockey is not as hot of a topic and in turn the helmet is very behind its time. Our design uses the spacing layout of the football helmet in the hockey helmet. The regulation hockey helmet is no different than an average bicycle helmet. It is approximately 1 inch of hard foam with a very thin layer of plastic on the outside and a soft inside liner mainly for comfort purposes. The regulation football helmet has a soft yet sturdy casing for the head, in between this and the thick hard plastic shell is about three quarters of an inch of air filled pockets that compact and takes most of the shock on impact. Concussions have reduced in football by 31% since the release of the xenith helmet which uses and founded this helmet design. The NFL has adopted these helmets and now most of the nfl has equipped their players with this helmet which has resulted in the 31% drop in concussions. This is why we would implement this revolutionary air pocket design into our hockey helmet and surely help protect our NHL athletes from the possibilities of CTE.

Works Cited:

Mayo Clinic Staff (2016, April 20 ) Chronic Traumatic encephalopathy. Retrieved from.

Boston University, CTE Center (date not applicable) CTE Center, Frequently asked questions. Retrieved from. ://

Serendip (2012, September 5) Brain Structure and their functions. Retrieved from.

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