The consequences of physical contacts in sports

by catherinegamache on February 8, 2016 - 10:44pm


On February 3rd, Catherine Solyom wrote a very moving article in the Montreal Gazette about a 21-year-old hockey player who has been severely injured during a game five years ago. Andrew Zaccardo has been checked from behind by another player named Ludovic Gauvreau-Beaupré. Since this day, Zaccardo cannot walk; he is now quadriplegic and has to be in a wheelchair for the rest of his life. In 2013, he and his family filed a lawsuit against Hockey Quebec and Hockey Canada, but the charges were dropped because the judge thought that the associations had shown some serious empathy. They also have imposed new security measures to prevent further events like this one. Recently, another lawsuit was taking place against Gaudreau-Beaupré and the Chartis Insurance Company.  On February 1st, Zaccardo has been granted $8 million for compensation. This is the highest amount allocated for a sports-related injury in Canadian history. $6.6 million will go directly to Andrew to cover the medical care and assistance that he will need throughout his life. Moreover, part of this money is also to compensate the loss of income that he will experience due to his lack of mobility and the full use of his hands. I think that this amount is very generous but it still does not replace the use of his arms and legs. I understand that hockey is a sport where physical contacts is permitted but checked from behind should not be tolerated. This maneuver is extremely dangerous because the victim cannot defend himself. Brutal physical contacts in hockey games really worry me because my nephew and a lot of my friends practice this sport. I personally know a great amount a people who have had cerebral commotion and other type of injuries while playing hockey. My nephew is only seven year old and I am already concerned about him playing future games where physical contacts are permitted. Furthermore, a couple of years ago, one of my closest friends have a very serious cerebral commotion during a hockey game. He stayed in the hospital for approximately a week and when he returned home he had multiple symptoms. He did not attend school and did not work for a whole month. At the time of the incident we was only 17 year old and he was in a hockey level where physical contacts were allowed. I can’t imagine what worst injuries can happen in higher levels. Because of this event, I believe that physical contacts should be banned in sports such as hockey due to high risks of injuries.


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I found your article very interesting and was captivated by your catchy title. To begin, I completely agree with you that it is very unfortunate the types of injuries young men in hockey face on an almost regular basis due to the fighting on ice. And though I personally agree with you that physical contact should not be allowed, I strongly believe the issue is much bigger than this when it comes to boys and sports. If you notice, arguably boys are more or less often seen in small fights or even engage in “trash talk” in many sports where physical contact is not allowed. This can be brought back to the idea of the “man box” and that boys and young men in society are constantly fighting to prove their masculinity. This “man box” includes attributes such as virility and aggression. The box’s attributes are glorified all around us too. For instance, we see the virtue of violence and the glorification of violent characters in movies. I further argue that though they prove their masculinity through their athleticism, young men and boys feel the need to further prove their dominance and masculinity by fighting since it demonstrates aggression, virility, power, and macho-ness, etc. Therefore, by fighting they can depict themselves as the alpha male and push those who they fight out of the man box by making them look weak. All in all, I think banning contact will not be enough to stop the fighting on ice since young men will always feel like they have to prove their dominance and push their opponents out of the “man box”.
Here is a link to a site further explaining the man box I think you might find useful: