GTHL Launches New Minor Hockey Concussion Strategy

Concussion strategy aligns players, parents, coaches and trainers in leading-edge brain injury prevention, education, research, recovery and awareness.

TORONTO, Ontario. (December 15, 2015) – The Greater Toronto Hockey League (GTHL) has signed a comprehensive five-year collaboration with the Concussion Centre at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, one of the first centres in the world dedicated exclusively to pediatric concussion and home to child and youth concussion experts. This initiative will enhance minor hockey player safety on and off the ice through the implementation of a first-of-its-kind integrated concussion strategy in minor hockey.

The strategy is grounded in four key pillars that include education and awareness, policy and protocol development, concussion services including baseline testing, and training. The strategy specifically focuses on the pediatric brain, to improve safety and recovery before, during, and after a brain injury.

“It is the GTHL’s mission to educate young athletes, families, trainers and coaches about concussion and keep safety and health top of mind,” says Don West, President, Greater Toronto Hockey League. “The GTHL and Concussion Centre at Holland Bloorview are setting a new standard for concussion safety in minor sports. Everyone involved in a young athlete’s development – including trainers, coaches, and parents – have a need for the best information about concussions, which can make a significant difference in an athlete’s safe enjoyment of our sport.”

Physical activity has long been recommended for its numerous benefits towards a youth’s health and wellbeing, and improving access to pediatric concussion education is critical to ensuring that health decisions are informed by evidence and research, to help youth recover and safely return to activity.

“Participation in sports is an integral part of most children’s lives and positively affects their physical, mental and social development,” says Dr. Nick Reed, Clinician Scientist and co-director of the Concussion Centre at Holland Bloorview. “It’s important that decisions to participate in sports are also seen as an opportunity to get more informed about an important issue. Our collaboration with the GTHL is based on the mutual goal of making hockey as safe as possible for the thousands of youth athletes that play and love the game. ”

This collaboration, through Holland Bloorview Concussion Centre co-directors Dr. Reed and Jason Carmichael, will enhance the GTHL’s well-established leadership in concussion safety by strengthening its concussion protocol and return-to-play policies to integrate research and education. This will further inform decisions around when it is safe for a player to return to activity after a concussion, and includes direct-to-family communication on pediatric brain injury education and real-life strategies that can be applied at home.

The concussion strategy will also include regular education events and opportunities for youth athletes and their families to engage with Holland Bloorview Concussion Centre specialists, including a regular advice column in the GTHL’s Breakout Magazine to keep concussion education and tips for recovery top of mind.

“The joint concussion strategy is comprehensive and includes the Concussion Centre leading coach and trainer workshops and providing evidence-based concussion information, training, and reinforcing of concussion protocols,” says Scott Oakman, Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer, GTHL. “This collaboration truly delivers an innovative, world-class concussion strategy across the entire GTHL.”

The Concussion Centre conducts leading-edge pediatric research in the Bloorview Research Institute at Holland Bloorview, and through the initiative with the GTHL will be investigating the influence of education and services on concussion knowledge, awareness and management.

To learn more about the Concussion Centre at Holland Bloorview, please visit:


Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital

Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital is Canada’s largest children’s rehabilitation hospital, fully affiliated with the University of Toronto. We pioneer treatments, technologies, therapies and real-world programs that give children with disabilities the tools to participate fully in life. The Concussion Centre at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital is one of the first in the world dedicated exclusively to pediatric concussion. The Centre includes clinicians specifically trained in pediatric brain injury and researchers who are leading experts in the field of youth concussion care, research, and education. The Concussion Centre is focused on getting kids back to doing what they need, want and love to do after sustaining a concussion.

Greater Toronto Hockey League

Founded in 1911, the GTHL is a non-profit organization and is the largest amateur minor hockey league in the world. The GTHL registers more than 40,000 annual participants in Markham, Mississauga, Toronto and Vaughan. The GTHL celebrated its 100th season in 2011-12. For more information, please visit


Press contact

Michelle Stegnar, Bloorview Research Institute at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital
T: 416-425-6220 ext.3497| E: