Hockey is a cornerstone of Canadian culture, generating passion and pride across the country. Back-to-back Olympic gold for both our men’s and women’s teams are inspiring a new generation of players.

And yet the hockey of our future will not be what it is today.

A Globe and Mail article published earlier this week draws attention to the fact that change is happening in youth sport. Why? Because the research linking brain injury to long-term health concerns is piling up. We now know that young athletes exposed to concussions and sub-concussive hits are more likely to attempt suicide or suffer from anxiety, depression, sleeplessness, forgetfulness, and more.

So much attention on traumatic brain injury in sports and yet, surprisingly, we don’t often hear of it in connection with mixed martial arts.

MMA is a full contact combat sport. It involves violent strikes to the head, as well as aggressive wrestling maneuvers. The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is said to be the fastest growing sport organization in the world.

Last week MMA fighter Brian Stann announced his retirement from the UFC.

Before his eight years as a UFC fighter, Stann played football for the US Naval Academy, later going on to fight for the Marine Corps in Iraq.