Sporting injuries can happy easily in any sport, and they are often able to be rehabilitated through physiotherapy and medical work; however, it is a lot easier to simply learn how to prevent them rather than learning to care for them after the fact. Ice hockey is naturally a very physical sport, and injuries can result often. However, the specific combo of power, speed, and agility which the sport requires means that some of these injuries can be avoided if handled correctly.
So, what are the Most Common Injury Risk Factors?
A player’s likelihood to sustain an injury of any kind is down to different variables which become apparent in the game. These can include the player’s position, how much protective equipment they are wearing, their susceptibility to violent behaviour, and their personal susceptibility to injuries because of previous injuries.
The Most Common Hockey Injuries
This is probably the most common of all the injuries in ice hockey and consists of a player getting ‘knocked out’ and losing consciousness because of a blow encountered during the game. The symptoms following a concussion are usually a headache, feeling dizzy and ‘not right’, or anything else similar. If a player is experiencing these symptoms, they should go to hospital straight away and be checked by a medical professional.
Another one of the most common injuries for a hockey player have to do with shoulder separation and collarbone injuries. These kinds of injuries almost always result from violent or physical altercations with other players (which are common on the hockey field). These can sometimes be treated by a sling or rest, but some require serious surgery.
An elbow is often one of the most vulnerable parts of the body when players are active on the rink, simply due to the fact that interactions between players are often intense and physical. Players also use their elbows to propel themselves down the rink, direct their own motion, and push past other players in certain circumstances. If this is a common injury, inflammation can result. The best way to prevent injuries to elbows is through the correct padding and protection.
Falls on the ice hockey rink are extremely common and can result in broken or sprained wrists, as well as damage to ligaments and bones in the surrounding areas. When a player falls onto their arm while it is outstretched, or otherwise puts undue pressure onto their wrist, it could easily cause a fracture. This can be prevented by learning to brace and fall correctly.
The lower back is the most at-risk area for hockey players due to the fact that there is often hyperextension of the back both forward and backward when players are playing. Lower back injuries can range from simply a dull ache needing physiotherapy to pulled muscles which are incredibly painful.
Knee injuries are incredibly painful and also common in ice hockey players. The ‘MCL’ is probably the most common injury simply because of the leg’s position and contact with the knee, but the ‘ACL’ can often see disruption in ice hockey players too. However, these injuries are stereotypically more common in different sports.
Easy Ways to Prevent Hockey Injuries
As you can probably guess, the majority of the actual hazards and dangers of hockey cannot be entirely taken away. However, the risk of injury and disfiguration resulting from these hazards can definitely be significantly reduced if the right precautions are taken. Thankfully, most of the common injuries suffered by hockey players are on the mild side. They often involve what we call ‘soft tissues’. Serious injuries are most commonly encountered when dangerous tactics are employed. Here are some tips and tricks for preventing injuries on the rink:
- Get a pre-season screening from a physiotherapist, sports physician, or other medical professional in order to understand previous injuries and your body’s weak spots.
- Ensure the player is in a sports conditioning programme to keep body and mind fit and well.
- Always use high standard, quality, and well-maintained equipment.
- Play by the rules and do not take unnecessary risk or put yourself in danger.
- When injuries do occur, handle them with extreme care and caution.
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