Whether it is played on the ice, in the gym, or on the street, hockey is a popular Canadian sport. It is a great source of physical activity and can help increase one's speed and coordination. It also promotes teamwork and is a fun pastime. With all of the benefits a sport like hockey can provide, it can be easy to forget about some of the risks it can involve.
Statistics from the HTCP Injury Data Collection Program, 2010-2011 report that 80.67% of concussions occur in the Peewee (27.31%), Bantam (31.09%) and Midget (22.27%) divisions. 30.85% of these concussions occurred as a result of a collision, 20.34% were due to impact with the boards and 23.73% resulting from checking.
Here are a few tips for playing a safe game of hockey that will help you reduce your risk of injury!
- Wear protective gear. This includes helmets, face and mouth guards, and appropriate padding. Check and make sure that your helmet is specifically made for hockey and that it is approved by the Canadian Standards Association (CSA).
- Check and make sure that everything still fits. Children and youth are prone to growth spurts. What was a perfect fit last year may be too small this year! If your gear is too small, it may not have the same protective qualities. For example, if the shoulder pads are too small the hard plastic caps which are supposed to cover the sides of the shoulders may only rest on top of them. If the player then smashes sideways into the boards, he/she is at a greater risk for breaking a bone, as their shoulders are not fully protected.
- Play fair and follow the rules of the game. Illegal maneuvers such as tripping, hitting, holding, body checking, and fighting can lead to serious injuries of various kinds.
- If you have already been injured, consult your doctor before returning to the game. Coming back before you have had sufficient time to completely healed will only make it easier for your injury to repeat itself.
In February 2012, during a hockey practice drill, Nathan Fraser, age 12, sustained a concussion. In the nine months since the accident, Nathan and his parents, Christine and Adam, have learned about the symptoms of concussion, the steps to take if a concussion occurs, and how to play safe to minimize the likelihood of a concussion.
New Guidelines for Pediatric Concussion
HTCP - Injury Data Collection Program 2010-2011