Contact sports today, such as hockey are very fast paced, and dangerous. Due to the high level of contact in the game of hockey, injuries such as the concussion have become more common. Due to the injury, the National Hockey League has made various changes in rules and which has impacted the way the game is played. As both a player and a fan of the sport, I disagree with the altercations that have been made. In my argument, I intend to show organizations such as the National Hockey League that the injuries come from the player's and that the added rules are lowering the enjoyment of the game.
The NHL has no doubt increased the safety of players. However, numerous players and fans feel as if the enjoyment of the game has decreased. The big hits and fighting are what fuels the excitement in the game of hockey. With the recent rule changes in leagues across the country, those factors have decreased in occurrence. In Brian Benson's article, A Prospective Study of Concussions among National Hockey League Players during Regular Season Games,(2011) he speaks about how it is often the top players that suffer from concussions. For example, Sidney Crosby is arguably the best player in the world. Due to his high level of skill and talent, that makes him a target for some teams. He has suffered multiple concussions from blind, illegal hits. It is not uncommon for teams to target people of high skill. Because of this, and the injuries that ensue, many of the top players are unable to play. This is quite upsetting to the fans. The actions that the NHL have taken to remedy these occurrences is the addition of penalties. These decision makers feel that if the illegal hits that are causing these injuries are penalized more stringently, the players targeting these stars will be more likely to refrain from making them. However, I feel that the issue is the players themselves, not the rules. I argue that action needs to be taken against those players that are making the illegal hits. These changes have resulted in a decrease in the amount of concussions. However, the illegal hits from repeating players, unfortunately, is going to continue. Major injuries will unfortunately always be a factor in contact sports. The reason these injuries are still common in hockey is due to the fact that there has been a lack of discipline given to these players that are causing these injuries. Benson goes on to talk about how the NHL Player Safety (the group responsible for creating and enforcing penalties) may not be fining these players enough to make it worth it to stop. Professional players now earn such substantial salaries that the minimal fines they collect due to the illegal hits, does not impact them enough to make a difference in the way they play the game. Therefore, we do not notice a decrease in the amount of illegal hits. In Wandlind, Michael W. and Oscar Guillamondegui's article, Eliminating the Confusion Surrounding Concussions in Sports, (2015) they both speak about football being the leading sport in the occurrence of concussions. Football hits are, much of the time, less preventable because the goal of many players is to tackle the ball carrier in order to keep them from scoring. They mention how hits in hockey that are causing concussions are more preventable. Hockey players at such high levels are more than capable of taking a hit. Injuries occur when someone is targeted and a illegal hit is what follows. If actions were taken against these certain players, the NHL would see an increase in safety.
To conclude, my argument involving the issue of conclusions is as follows. The NHL and other hockey organizations need to discipline the players making illegal hits. Meaning increase fine prices and longer suspension time depending on the severity of the action and resulting injury. The rule changes have negatively impacted the enjoyment of the game of hockey and should be restored. If the focus is on the players and their actions, I suspect we will see a increase in player safety and the enjoyment of the game will be restored to it's original glory.
Benson, Brian W. “A Prospective Study of Concussions among National Hockey League Players during Regular Season Games: The NHL-NHLPA Concussion Program” vol. 183 2011, 20, April. 2017
Wandlind, Michael W. and Oscar Guillamondegui. “Eliminating the Confusion Surrounding Concussions in Sports”. JAMA vol. 314 no. 13, 2015. 20 April, 2017