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Common Field and Ice Hockey Injuries – 10 Facts For Athletes

Hockey Injuries

Few sports are perhaps as greatly associated with injury as hockey, whether played on the ice or on the field. With over half a million players annually combined with hazards like ice skates in some cases and weighty pucks traveling as fast as a hundred miles per hour, hockey injuries are not uncommon nor surprising. However, there are some things about common, everyday sports injuries related to hockey that are still surprising to many people. We’ve put together a list of the best ten of them that provide valuable information about hockey injury statistics, treatment, recovery and prevention to keep you safe on the ice and the field, too!

  1. Ice is More Dangerous: This may seem like a no brainer, but hockey injuries are much more common when the sport is played on ice than in the case of field hockey. There are many reasons why this is true, but the combination of super fast speeds combined with a very hard surface that provides little shock absorption for rough landings are the two biggest contributors. The puck whizzing around at lightning fast speeds and super sharp skate bottoms are also injury related obstacles players face.
  2. Concussions are the Commonest: Any number of hockey injuries can affect players at any time during play, but the one that they encounter the most often might be surprising. Concussions remain the most abundant hockey related injury and they can occur as a result of falling, getting hit by another player or puck or hitting a wall or barrier. Most concussions thankfully don’t require a trip to an elite sports injury clinic and many people don’t lose consciousness as a result, however some concussions can be serious.
  3. The Knees Suffer Second: Behind concussions, the knees bear the brunt of most hockey injuries, which may also come as a surprise to many people. But, it’s not just sore knee joints that keep players off the ice. The MCL (medial collateral ligament) refers to the tearing or stretching of this inner part of the knee and is commonly affected in hockey related knee injuries. Thankfully, most people experiencing this type of injury are only temporarily down for the count, and many non-serious cases do not prevent a full recovery and prompt return to play.
  4. Foot Injuries are Common, Too! For those that play on the ice, the high ankle coverage provided by ice skates can help reduce some of the risk of injury to the foot and ankle. However, while strains and sprains might be less common, the feet still bear the brunt of many hockey injuries because of the types of movements required. Anytime rapid changes in direction are required, the potential for torque injuries increases. What’s worse is that of all hockey injuries, those affecting the feet and ankles tend to take the longest to heal and keep players out of the game longer.
  5. Protective Gear can Greatly Reduce Injury Risk: Using the correct protective gear and ensuring that it fits properly may seem like common sense, but each year many people are hurt while playing ice or field hockey because they are not wearing the appropriate gear. Hockey players should wear helmets, face masks that include a mouth guard, and padding at the shins, elbows, and shoulders. Appropriate pants and gloves are also important for ice hockey players.
  6. Dental Injuries are Common: One type of injury that falls well outside traditional physiotherapy treatment is that which affects the face and dental area. Unfortunately, despite the use of protective gear, hockey injuries affecting the mouth and eyes remain one of the more common problems players face, although protective gear does help to minimize these types of occurrences. Unlike a common hamstring injury, dental and eye injuries aren’t treated in the same way as other acute sports trauma and require evaluation from a dentist or opthamologist. Sometimes, players lose teeth entirely due to playing hockey.
  7. Dangerous Injuries on the Rise: Though there is no explanation specifically that explains the increase, the last decade has shown that spinal injury cases have been on the rise in hockey players. One possible explanation for this is that players are not wearing their protective gear regularly as they should. Conversely to this statistic however, the wearing of protective face shields and helmets has resulted in a decline in injuries to the head.
  8. Alternative Treatments are Available: Hockey can lead to some pretty serious injuries, but most of the time they are minor in nature. Alternative types of therapy can be very useful in the case of soft tissue hockey injuries that affect the joints and muscles. Cryotherapy for athletes, for example, refers to the use of whole body cryo saunas by those that are very physically active in order to speed recovery time, heal minor injuries and damage more quickly, and provide energy boosts along with feelings of well being following periods of physical exertion. The devices are purported to work in numerous ways including stimulating the immune system, prompting chemical releases in the body in response to perceived danger and reducing pain and inflammation through cold therapy. The treatment is available in many sports injury clinic Toronto based locations, but is becoming more readily available in numerous large cities.
  9. Fights are Bad News: No other sport aside from boxing is perhaps more associated with fighting than hockey is. For some spectators, the fights are what make watching the game more enjoyable. Though fights are less common in non professional arenas, they remain a source of both minor and serious injuries to players.
  10. Foul Play Leads to Hockey Injuries: The jury is still out on the specifics, but some have estimated that as many as 33% of all hockey injuries are a result of foul play. The theory is that reducing the incidence and likelihood of foul play through enforcement may therefore significantly reduce the risk and recurrence of hockey injuries.

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