Many sports include some risk of injury. However, a new study indicates that youth hockey may be more dangerous than previously thought. This study finds that 11 year old players who play in a league which allows body checking are more than three times as likely to suffer concussions. Many leagues in the United States and Canada begin allowing body checking at the age of 11.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends limiting the practice of body checking for all players younger than 15. The policy was drafted in 2007 after a report that concluded body checking accounts for 86 percent of all injuries that occurred during games played by 9- to 15-year-olds.
Concussions may cause problems with memory, focus, balance, and also affect mood. Subsequent concussions may pose even more serious risks and long term effects, which is why children in sports must use extreme caution when playing high contact sports.
Before allowing your children to play youth hockey, it would be wise to inquire as to the League rules regarding this potentially unsafe practice.
Read more about "checking" in youth hockey and its risks here.