Whether or not you are a weekend warrior or a pro hockey player, injuries on the ice can put you on the bench really quickly. Think about it…. you have solid ice, two razor sharp blades on each player, sticks, a puck that can exceed speeds of 160 km/h, hitting and collisions that are happening every second! Injury seems inevitable, but today we will look at the most common injuries and what you can do to prevent them.
With the high speeds and rock solid ice, concussions can be one of the more common serious injuries you may have on the ice. And the severity and dangers of concussions are only recently becoming mainstream knowledge. This is partly due to the fact that you can sustain a concussion and not even know it. You can read more about the signs and symptoms of concussions by clicking the link. To prevent concussions you MUST make sure you wear proper headgear. If playing in a game or league another thing every player and coach must be aware of is the aggressiveness of the game. There are rules set up not only to regulate play and keep things fair, but to prevent injuries. There needs to be someone that makes sure these rules are enforced!
The most common shoulder injuries in hockey are a shoulder separation and a broken collarbone. Ice and the walls are not forgiving, unfortunately our bodies are. This is why we wear pads; we want something other than our bodies to absorb the impacts. So to prevent shoulder injuries you must make sure that you have the proper gear. Whether it’s a pro game on the ice of the MTS Centre or a small game out on a frozen lake or pond with friends, ice is still ice. It’s hard and the impact can snap small bones like your collarbone.
With the bent- over position and common collisions in hockey, hockey players are at a high risk for back injuries. The more common injuries to the back are strains to the muscles in the lower back. If our core muscles (see chart below) surrounding our abdomen and back are not strong they can often become injured during impacts, hyper-extending the back, or even while over-stretching to stop a puck or player. The key to prevention of lower back injuries is keeping a strong core. You can learn about some of these exercises on our education pages or by clicking this link.
Due to the mechanics of skating motions and the agility required while playing hockey, the hip joint and muscles undergo a lot of stress. Common injuries include hip flexor or groin strains, hip bursitis, or tears in the cartilage. A proper stretching and strengthen program as well as padding over the lateral hip can help prevent them. You should incorporate an off-season program of stability and strengthening exercises to help reinforce the smaller muscles of the hip which when weak often contribute to injuries of the larger muscles or joints.
Although it can be a rough sport, the hazards of playing hockey can be substantially reduced with proper training, protective gear, and making sure that the rules of the game are followed. If you have any questions or suspect an injury, you can visit us or ask in the comments section below. We wish you all a safe and fun hockey season and remember:
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
– Benjamin Franklin