Dr. Aubry continues world-leading work in concussion safety
by Liz MONTROY |07 APR 2024
photo: © International Ice Hockey Federation

IIHF CMO Dr. Mark Aubry inducted into Ottawa Sports Hall of Fame

When it comes to safety in hockey, the dedication and expertise of individuals working behind the scenes in medical roles has been paramount. One such individual, whose impact extends internationally, and even beyond the sport of hockey, is being recognized this year for his immense contributions to sport.

Dr. Mark Aubry, the IIHF’s Chief Medical Officer (CMO), was recently announced as a 2024 inductee into the Ottawa Sports Hall of Fame in recognition of his work with the IIHF, Hockey Canada and the Ottawa Senators, and his world-leading role in concussion prevention and treatment.

“He was instrumental in helping to draft our concussion protocol,” said Ashley Ehlert, IIHF Deputy General Secretary and Legal Director. “He spearheaded leading to ensure that we had a concussion protocol and then also the procedures that we implement in the game with our medical supervisors with respect to concussion spotting.”

Alongside the IIHF medical committee, Dr. Aubry has organized conferences highlighting key safety issues in hockey, ranging from sudden cardiac death to concussions.

“We initiated concussion conferences that brought together federations like FIFA, World Rugby and the IOC, to bring together concussion specialists from around the world and develop a consensus towards recognizing and managing this problem,” said Dr. Aubry.

In advocating for the prevention of concussions and spinal cord injuries, his work, and that of the IIHF medical committee, has involved examining and making recommendations for rule changes, such as those related to hits from behind.

Dr. Aubry has also developed medical mandates for IIHF tournament hosts, such as the requirement of having Event Chief Medical Officers, and has appointed and trained medical supervisors who ensure that IIHF medical rules and regulations are followed at every World Championship event.

“He really cares,” said Ehlert. “The biggest thing for me, working with Mark, is his dedication to the IIHF and to ice hockey internationally. He is really dedicated to working with us and ensuring that we have a safe sport.”

“The IIHF has been instrumental in making sure that the game has remained safe,” said Dr. Aubry. “There’s nothing more important than keeping our athletes safe. It’s really been an honour to be involved in the IIHF and keeping the focus on safety.”

Dr. Aubry started his journey in sport as a hockey player, competing in the Central Junior Hockey League and with the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees.

“When I graduated from medicine and stopped playing hockey, I wanted to be involved in sport,” said Dr. Aubry, who opened a clinic in Gatineau in 1981. “I began my practice in sport medicine, so it’s a natural evolution to take care of athletes.”

His involvement as a physician with Hockey Canada national teams led to being nominated to join the IIHF medical committee in 1994, which was followed by his appointment as the IIHF’s CMO four years later, a role he continues to hold.

He became the team physician for the Ottawa Senators in 2002 and the CMO of Hockey Canada in 2004. The list of teams and organizations that he’s impacted is long, from the OHL’s Ottawa 67s to the IOC. He has lent his expertise to other sports as well, with past experience as the team physician for the Ottawa Rough Riders and the Ottawa Lynx.

Respected internationally for his work, Dr. Aubry has also been a recipient of the USA Hockey Excellence in Safety Award, the IIHF’s Paul Loicq Award and the Dr. Tom Pashby Sports Safety Award.

“This honour is quite an honour, and it was quite surprising to be honest with you. I never thought that I would ever be considered for such a position. It’s really very special for myself and my family,” said Dr. Aubry. “We love the city of Ottawa. We’ve been here now for a long time, since I was the age of 13. We’ve made it our home, our community.”

Dr. Aubry will be officially inducted into the Ottawa Sports Hall of Fame on May 28.