Concussions need royal commission: NDP

LAURA PAYTON, Parliamentary Bureau, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 2:58 PM ET

OTTAWA — Canada needs a royal commission to study serious sports injuries like concussions, the NDP said Tuesday.

"Mounting medical evidence confirms something needs to be done,” NDP sports critic Glenn Thibeault said.

"Serious brain injuries have become all too common in sports.”

Thibeault has introduced a private member's bill in the House of Commons to force the government to create a national sports injury surveillance system, establish guidelines for athletes and coaches, and create training standards for coaches.

The royal commission would raise awareness in a field run mainly by volunteers and would let experts look more closely at what they know, said neurosurgeon Dr. Neilank Kumar Jha, who accompanied Thibeault at the press conference.

"We don't know the answers to a lot of these questions. We don't have effective treatments. A lot of concussions are going unrecognized,”he said.

"What we need to do is set up a royal commission so we could at least work toward answering these questions” and share information with coaches and parents, he said.

The call comes a day after Boston Bruin centre Marc Savard announced he's out for the rest of the season due to his second concussion in 10 months. NHL star Sidney Crosby is out indefinitely with a concussion.

A concussion is caused by the brain hitting the skull and can result in headaches, dizziness and memory loss.

laura.payton@sunmedia.ca

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