City unveils new policy enforcing helmet use on the rink
The rules of the rink are about to change in Ottawa.
City council released details of a new ice skating policy Sunday afternoon which will require children under 10 and weak skaters to wear a helmet at indoor rinks.
City officials say the new policy will take effect on January 1 and is meant to keep more people out of emergency rooms and doctor offices. They say hundreds of injuries can be prevented each year by wearing a helmet properly.
However, the burden will be on parents to purchase a helmet for their children. Jim Durrell arena, for example, has skates available for rent but not helmets. The average cost for a hockey helmet starts at $49.99.
What you need to know:
- If a skater requires a helmet and does not have one, they won't be allowed on the rink
- If a skater (staff feels needs a helmet) is caught on the ice without one, they will be asked to leave and refunded the skating fee
- The policy requires children under 10 and inexperienced skaters to have a helmet made to handle more than one fall or crash
- A certified BMX or skateboard helmet is acceptable under the policy
- Helmet coupons are available at any City of Ottawa public skating session
Currently, only people in wheelchairs or strollers are required to wear helmets.
But a city report showed boys between 10 and 14 account for the most skating-related hospital visits.
McRae says the rule could be amended at a later date to include a broader age group. Officials did not say how they will determine who is a"weak skater."
The announcement comes just one day after an Ottawa group held an event to bring attention to concussions.
With a special focus on hockey, the Ottawa District Hockey Association held a free concussion seminar at Scotiabank Place Saturday morning. Organizers want parents, coaches and players to be equipped with proper information regarding the brain injury.
"It's a very different injury than everything else, where the culture is suck it up and play through…here you can't do that, if you try to do that, you'll get worse." said Dr. Jamie Kissick.
Experts suggest athletes with a suspected concussion should be taken out of the game immediately. Kissick says it is not like a knee injury where you can limp around and function; people need their brains for everything they do.
Ottawa teen Bill Trudeau can identify with the concern. The 15-year-old suffered a concussion while playing hockey.
"It was just a hitting drill, hit my head on another guy's head got a concussion from that," said Trudeau. He said his symptoms included dizziness, difficulty concentrating and irritability.
The injury can have long-lasting effects. After all, it took NHL star Sydney Crosby out of the game for more than two dozen matches.
With reports from CTV Ottawa's Claudia Cautillo and Katie Griffin