As you cover the Winter Olympics, you may want to talk with L. Syd Johnson, assistant professor of of philosophy and adjunct professor of kinesiology and integrative physiology at Michigan Technological University, who studies the impact of concussions on athletes. She has joined with those who urge revolutionary changes in hockey, including no body checking. At the very least, she recommends no body checking until elite-level programs (ages 16 to 17). Hockey Canada has instituted this rule for Pee Wee level (under 13).
Johnson also suggests a ban on fighting in North American hockey, as it is already banned in European and Olympic hockey. She says hockey risks becoming marginalized like boxing did after the effects of punching became obvious in Muhammad Ali and Sugar Ray Leonard, among others.
Johnson’s research taps into the culture of sports. “As adults, we need to protect kids from injury,” she says. “Sports are valuable. They help fight obesity, for example. But there are ethical implications. What’s important in sports? What are we teaching kids?"
To contact Dr. Johnson, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 906-487-3232 (office) or 906-370-5523 (cell).