University of Calgary

Ken Dryden to host public forum on concussions in sports

UToday HomeApril 19, 2013

Ken Dryden played goal for the Montreal Canadiens during the 1970sKen Dryden played goal for the Montreal Canadiens during the 1970s before going on to successful careers as a lawyer, politician, businessman and author.When we think of career-ending concussions, most of us tend to think of NHL stars, not 12-year-old boys. That’s how old Ash Kolstad was when his dream of playing professional hockey ended. Ash was checked from behind during a Peewee hockey game and his head hit the boards and then the ice.

The resulting serious concussion put him out of school for four months, during which time he hid in a darkened room because even a sliver of light or the slightest noise caused him pain.

“It throbbed every second of the day,” recalls Kolstad. “It never stopped. The doctors told me I can never play again. It was really disappointing.”

On Monday, April 22, Kolstad will be part of a public forum on sport concussions being hosted by Ken Dryden, called Sport Concussions: From Problems to Answers, Where We Go Next. Dryden, who has authored five books and served as a Member of Parliament, is perhaps best known for his time as goaltender with the Montreal Canadiens, where he won six Stanley Cups, from 1971-’79.

Dryden is passionate about athlete safety and has written at length about the need to save athletes from themselves in the heat of competition. Remarking on the recent Consensus Statement on Concussion, he wrote, “The answer is in how we play. There are many things we don’t know. But what we do know, with absolute certainty, is that a hit to the head is a bad thing; and a hard hit to the head is a very bad thing.”

The event will be hosted by the University of Calgary’s Dr. Willem Meeuwisse, a physician and researcher with the Faculty of Kinesiology’s Sport Medicine Centre, and the leader of the University of Calgary Brain Injury Initiative with the Hotchkiss Brain Institute, the Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute for Child and Maternal Health, and the Faculty of Medicine

The free forum will feature several high-profile athletes discussing their battles with concussion, including speedskater and former Olympics medal-winner Kristina Groves, former alpine skier Cary Mullen, and several hockey players.

The second part of the evening will be a discussion with medical leaders from the University of Calgary including Dr. Kelly Brett of the Calgary Flames , Dr. Brian Benson with Hockey Canada, Dr. Karen Barlow with the Alberta Children’s Hospital, physiotherapist Kathryn Schneider and athletic therapist Alana Dyrland.

The final section of the evening will be an open-ended discussion of concussion prevention in sports. This discussion will include representatives from Hockey Calgary, Hockey Alberta, former Flame Jim Peplinski, and Dr. Carolyn Emery, who is part of the University of Calgary Sport Injury Prevention Research Centre in the Faculty of Kinesiology.

The event will be held on Monday, April 22, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. in the MacEwan Hall Ballroom. While the event is free, organizers ask attenders to RSVP and print tickets from the Eventbrite site, because space is limited:


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