More than 500,000 individuals are involved in youth ice hockey leagues every year, making it one of the fastest growing sports in the country. This fast-paced sport carries a great potential for risk – as is true with most contact sports – but with the right training, preparation and equipment, you can keep safe while playing.
Both contact and non-contact injuries occur during ice hockey. Collision injuries and being hit by pucks or sticks can cause harm, as well as muscle injuries from overuse or acute trauma. Below are some of the most common hockey injuries.
- Concussions are possible without a player getting “knocked out”. Any player experiencing common concussion symptoms – such as headache, temporary loss of consciousness, confusion, dizziness, nausea or fatigue – should seek medical care immediately and not return to play.
- Shoulder Injuries present themselves most often in shoulder separations and broken collarbones, most often caused by collisions. Treatment usually includes a sling and rest, but may require surgery.
- Elbow Injuries result from frequent contact, and may cause bursitis from recurrent inflammation.
- Wrist Injuries often occur when players catch themselves falling or use their hand when bracing against the boards, resulting in fractures.
- Hip Injuries are common due to the mechanics of the skating stride, and may present themselves in groin and/or hip flexor strain. Trochanteric bursitis and hip impingement also occur.
- Knee Injuries are extremely common in hockey players. Pushing off the inside edge of the skate blade puts the leg in a vulnerable position for ACL and meniscus injuries.
Wearing the necessary equipment (and checking that it fits properly) can prevent many injuries. Don’t forget the additional equipment for goalies! Rules in the sport are changing to help prevent unnecessary injury, so it is important that players and coaches alike adhere to these.
If you have been hurt or have any concerns, call the Bone & Joint center to schedule an appointment.
Reference: American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, “Hockey Injury Prevention,” August 2009. http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=a00114
Reference: Stop Sports Injuries, “Hockey Injury Prevention”. http://www.stopsportsinjuries.org/hockey-injury-prevention.aspx