Why Do We Keep Talking About the “A Step aHead” Program?

Elizabeth M. Pieroth, PsyD, ABPP

If you have read the AHAI newsletter for the past month or so you have seen numerous mentions of the joint initiative called A Step aHead. Yet, you may not fully understand why this program was started and why it is so important to the hockey community.

Over the past 10-15 years there has been increasing focus on concussion in sports, but much of the attention has been on football. However, there is a high rate of concussions in hockey, particularly given the number of practices and games that occur over the lengthy hockey season. Unfortunately, hockey players are not provided with baseline neurocognitive testing at their schools because hockey is typically a club sport. This raises significant concerns that these athletes were not getting adequate education on concussions and may not be receiving optimal post-injury care. Neurocognitive testing is a component of concussion management as it provides objective data on post-concussion cognitive changes.