After learning about the potential effects of cognitive training on injury reduction, IntelliGym wanted to go deeper to see if they could find more evidence to support this hypothesis. Jacob Greenshpan, Ph.D. and Research Director for IntelliGym, analyzed medical data from USA Hockey before and after the National Team Development Program (NTDP) started implementing the Hockey IntelliGym into their training routine in the 2009 season. Click here to read that story, about how the USA Hockey NTDP U17 and U18 athlete’s increased their points-per-game by 42% within one season. Dr. Greenshpan compared pre-training data from 2007 to 2009 to post-training data in 2010 and 2011 to see what he could find.
Greenshpan found a significant reduction in the number of injury-related visits to the doctor, hockey-related injuries, and total head injuries in the 2 years following integration of the IntelliGym into the NTDP. This data was presented at the IIHF International Youth Coaching Symposium during the 2013 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship in Helsinki, Finland. The IntelliGym is still the official cognitive trainer of the USA Hockey NTDP to this day.
While less “scientific” than Dr. Buckley’s study, described above, the numbers tell an interesting story that should not be ignored or taken lightly when talking about injuries in youth hockey. We all share the same goal – to provide a safe and fun environment for young athletes to play hockey. If cognitive training, not just the IntelliGym, can help achieve this goal, we should all be talking a little bit more about the topic.