October 2, 2017– The Rick Hansen Institute is pleased to announce it is partnering with Parachute to support the prevention of spinal cord injuries (SCI) in hockey.

The Institute, a leader in spinal cord injury research and innovation, has pledged financial support to Parachute for the Canadian Ice Hockey Spinal Injury Registry, an existing registry of spine and spinal cord injuries sustained in hockey games. Parachute is a leader in injury prevention and the Canadian Ice Hockey Spinal Injury Registry records data such as the geographical location of the injury, level of injury, extent of neurological deficit, type of play (e.g. practice, organized, shinny), use of protective equipment, and how the injury happened (e.g., pushing and checking from behind).

The data is collected through a biennial survey spearheaded by Toronto neurosurgeon and renowned traumatic brain and spinal cord injury expert, Dr. Charles Tator.

The Canadian Ice Hockey Spinal Injury Registry is highly complementary to the Institute’s international one (Rick Hansen Spinal Cord Injury Registry). Both registries include individuals who sustain damage to their spinal cord as a result of hockey. However, the Canadian Ice Hockey Spinal Injury Registry includes important details about how to prevent injuries and the Institute’s registry provides information on long‐term outcomes that highlights the importance of injury prevention programs. Both registries provide a key resource for researchers, specialists in neurosurgery, orthopedic surgery, sports medicine, and physical medicine and rehabilitation as well as for those designing effective injury prevention initiatives. The Institute has transformed SCI research and care in Canada – facilitating collaboration by developing, funding, and harmonizing data registries that capture and share data – dramatically expanding what we know about SCI. Parachute’s injury prevention solutions, knowledge mobilization, public policy, and social awareness efforts are designed to help keep Canadians safe. By combining each organizations’ strengths, this partnership supports the prevention of SCI, and provides the best care to Canadians when SCIs do occur.


Honourable Kent Hehr, Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities, Member of Parliament for Calgary Centre:

“As with many Canadians, I grew up playing sports in my local community. When 1 out of 7 Canadians currently live with a disability, I know how important it is to be able to play sports, especially hockey, without fear of serious injury. This partnership will help to support our government’s goal of keeping our youth active and safe.”

Bill Barrable, Chief Executive Officer, Rick Hansen Institute:

“Through our Rick Hansen Spinal Cord Injury Registry, we know that sports are the third leading cause of traumatic spinal cord injuries. When we commissioned an Angus Reid survey in 2013 about amateur hockey, an overwhelming number of Canadians supported changes in the game to reduce injuries. Our organization’s two complementary registries will provide better data on what treatments may be most effective following injury.”

Stephen Podborski, President & Chief Executive Officer, Parachute:

“This partnership will provide evidence to support injury prevention programs and evaluate how effective they are. Preventing spinal cord injuries in hockey will reduce the burden on the health care system and create a safe and fun environment in which to enjoy Canada’s game.”

Facts about spinal cord injury

According to research conducted by the Rick Hansen Institute:

  • More than 86,000 Canadians live with spinal cord injury (approximately half of those injuries caused by trauma such as hockey‐related injuries).
  • For the 1,389 people who sustain a traumatic SCI each year, the annual cost is estimated at $2.7 billion (2015 CAD). This includes direct costs such as hospital stay and indirect costs such as lost productivity.

According to the Canadian Ice Hockey Spinal Injury Registry:

  • There are 355 documented cases between 1943‐2011.
  • Primarily males (97.7%) and cervical spine injuries (78.9%), resulting from impact with the boards (64.2%).
  • Check or push from behind (36.0%) was still the most common cause of injury, although slightly lower during 2006 to 2011.
  • Current data for 2006 to 2011 indicate that spinal injuries in ice hockey continue to occur, although still at lower rates than the peak years 1982 to 1995 (Tator et al)].

About Rick Hansen InstituteRick Hansen Institute is a Vancouver‐based not‐for‐profit organization that drives spinal cord injury (SCI) research and innovation around the world. The Institute networks international researchers, healthcare professionals, entrepreneurs, investors and people with SCI to find solutions to what is one of the most debilitating, costly and life‐altering chronic health conditions. We strive to improve the lives of people living with SCI in Canada and around the world. Visit www.rickhanseninstitute.org

For more information, contact Carey Lee, Marketing & Network Engagement Lead at 604-827-2426 or clee@rickhanseninstitute.org.