NHL players and community contribute millions to concussion research at Western

Researchers and athletes are in London for an annual symposium on brain trauma in sport

The NHL Players Association contributed, alongside community members to new concussion research funding. (CBC)

Researchers at Western University have received $3.125 million to continue their studies on concussions and their effects on athletes.

The funding comes thanks to donations from the community and the NHL Players Association, and will be used to support brain trauma experts at Schulich Medicine & Dentistry and Robarts Research Institute.

They’re working to investigating ways to better understand the symptoms and biomarkers of concussions and are working toward strategies to arrest the short- and long-term devastating consequences.

“We are fortunate to have a strong team of collaborative researchers in London researching every aspect of concussion from diagnosis, to treatment and long-term effects,” said Schulich Dean Dr Michael J. Strong in a written statement.

“We are grateful to the NHLPA and a group of committed donors who saw the value in this important work.”

Thursday’s announcement was made as part of “See the Line”, a ten-year initiative that seeks to raise awareness about the consequences of concussions, reduce their occurrence, and to improve care when they do occur.

Focus on decision-makers

Hockey will never be concussion-free, said former Montreal Canadiens goalie Ken Dryden during an interview on London Morning Thursday, so it’s important to focus on how to reduce them.

Ken Dryden was invited to be the keynote speaker at Western University’s annual See the Line conference. (Julianne Hazelwood/ CBC News )

“Parents get it,” said Dryden. “The challenge is to focus on the decision-makers.”

“Governmental decision makers, organizational decision makers, coach decision makers. The question is, how do you make your game just as exciting and challenging to play and to watch but is also safer?” said Dryden.

Dryden was the keynote speaker at the annual symposium. He was joined by former NHL great Eric Lindros, whose career ended early because of the cumulative effects of several concussions.