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Olympic gold medalist Katie Weatherston, who has suffered multiple concussions, teaches aspiring hockey players about the game in Rockland, Ont., on March 16, 2011. (Blair Gable/Blair Gable for The Globe and Mail)
Olympic gold medalist Katie Weatherston, who has suffered multiple concussions, teaches aspiring hockey players about the game in Rockland, Ont., on March 16, 2011. (Blair Gable/Blair Gable for The Globe and Mail)

SPORTS INJURY

Ottawa pledges $1.5-million to help curb head injuries in youth sports Add to ...

The federal government will spend $1.5-million to help reduce concussions in kid's sports.

The money goes to ThinkFirst Canada, Hockey Canada, the Coaching Association of Canada and the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport to support efforts to reduce the rate and severity of sports-related head injuries.

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The groups will work on increasing awareness of the problem among coaches, players and parents.

Among other things, they hope to develop guidelines for fitting helmets, and provide better information about the risks and signs of head injuries and when it's safe to return to playing after an injury.

The groups will look at the information about concussion and head injuries that's currently available and try to fill in any gaps.

Concussions in sports have become a hot topic in the last year, especially in the wake of the problems of NHL star Sidney Crosby, and the program aims to raise people's awareness and knowledge about head injuries.

Bal Gosal, the federal Minister of State for Sports, said it's estimated that 90 per cent of severe brain injuries can be prevented.

“We want our children to be active, healthy and have fun while participating in team sports and physical activity,” he said. “But we also want our children to be safe.”

The government says accidental injuries are the leading cause of death for people under the age of 19. More than 40 per cent of brain injuries in children and youth aged 10-19 years treated in hospital emergency departments result from sports and recreation activities.

Much of the new information will be aimed at producing low-cost or free information that can be easily downloaded, including a brain injury and concussion mobile app.

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