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‘Strong suggestion’ for helmets for U12 curlers

A ‘strong suggestion’ for curlers under the age of 12 to wear helmets on the ice has been made by Curling Canada.

The advice follows a year of investigation and consultation, where a working group at Curling Canada reviewed current recommendations from the Canadian Concussion Collaborative and research completed and published in the British Journal of Sport Medicine.

While it was felt that helmet use for under 12s should be urged and encouraged, it was not felt that helmet use should be mandatory at this time.

The suggestion is for children to wear CSA-approved helmets designed for ice sports, such as hockey or figure skating helmets.

The helmet suggestion includes the following groups:

o Children under 12
o Anyone in a Novice or Learn to Curl program
o Coaches for U12 (so that the youth model behaviour)
o Anyone who has reason to think that they could be vulnerable (limited mobility, elderly, on medication).

The recommendation for curling centres in BC is to:

  • Ensure waiver system is re-introduced and updated if required. An example waiver form is being prepared and, once ready, will be available on the Curl BC website. Email msim@curlbc.ca for more information.

Over the next year Curling Canada will create standardized safety and concussion education materials for clubs and deliver through Curl BC and the other provincial associations.

There will also be efforts to undertake tracking of safety and head injury incidents along with other winter sports to better understand extent of issue.

The national plan for Year 2 (2018-19 season) is to:

  • Evaluate level of compliance to “recommendation” for helmet wear to determine behaviour and acceptance.
  • Explore potential national accident insurance policy and/or waiver system related to individual member registration and make recommendation if needed.
  • Review data and sport injury research to evaluate extent of issues as well as other best practices in sport.
  • Develop pilot formal “badge” system that allows coaches to assess competency to determine when junior curlers must wear helmets. For example, Skate Canada ensures all children U12 wear helmets unless they have reached Level 5 in skating proficiency.

The national plan for Year 3 (2019-20 season) is to:

  • Launch feeder “badge” system that allows coaches to assess competency to determine when junior curlers must wear helmets. For example, Skate Canada ensures all children U12 wear helmets unless they have reached level 5 in skating proficiency.
  • Continue to evaluate level of compliance to “recommendation” for helmet wear to determine behaviour and acceptance.
  • Evaluate national accident insurance policy and/or waiver system related to individual curler member registration and make recommendation if implemented and needed.
  • Review data and sport injury research to evaluate extent of issues as well as other best practices in sport.
  • Make formal recommendation on whether to implement a formal rule or not depending on a collective evaluation of risk/liability and compliance.

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