NHLPA strikes new partnership in concussion research

NHL on Sportsnet analyst Nick Kypreos and former NHL player Eric Lindros comment on raising awareness on the effects of concussions.

The National Hockey League Players’ Association is partnering with Western University in an effort to enhance concussion research.

The announcement, made at Wednesday’s annual See the Line event held in London, Ont., to support research and awareness, comes with a “challenge gift” of $500,000 from the NHLPA to support the school’s research efforts.

“Whether it’s your child, sibling or parent – all of society can benefit from the collaborative research conducted by [lead researcher] Arthur Brown and his team,” honorary See the Line chair Eric Lindros said in the event’s press release. “With the help of NHLPA and the challenge they’ve set forward to people everywhere, my hope is that this research will one day lead to full recoveries for everyone living with concussion.”

The event was presented in partnership by London Health Sciences Foundation, the Fowler Kennedy Sport Medicine Clinic, and Western University’s Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, along with support from London’s hospitals, research institutes, and Western’s faculties of Health Sciences and Engineering.

The $500,000 donation is the start of a $3.125 million fund to help develop new ways to treat concussions and reduce the short- and long-term devastating consequences of concussion.

With the announcement comes a challenge to Canadians to raise an additional $2.625 million in one year to support the research.

“Enhancing the ability to diagnose and treat concussions would obviously be important achievements, and we hope that this contribution goes a long way to further research in this area,” NHLPA Executive Director Don Fehr said. “We are pleased to provide support to Western in this critical area.”

Concussions have been under the spotlight in the NHL and other sports, having been linked to long-term conditions such as depression, early-onset dementia and even Alzheimer’s. According to the release, more than 160,000 people in Canada experience a concussion every year and half of all concussions are sports-related.