Accidents can and do happen anywhere, anytime to anyone. This statement
is very true when dealing with a physical contact sport like hockey. There is a
certain amount of risk involved in playing any sport. When an injury occurs, it
inflicts tremendous hardship on the injured person, the team and the parents as
well. Hockey is a very popular and fun game to play (it is now considered
Canada's national sport, along with lacrosse) but it can also be very dangerous.
As players become better educated about hockey injuries and play by the rules
the game will be even more fun to play. This paper will discuss the importance
of common and catastrophic injuries, protective equipment, an indepth analysis
report, the role of a coach and personal related hockey injuries.
MOST COMMON INJURIES
During the hockey season a person's body ends up getting bruised,
injured and banged around. A hockey injury report done by the International
Hockey Centre of Excellence has statistics on the most common hockey injuries
and how they occured. the most common injuries are to the shoulder, knee and
Injury to the shoulder is the most common hockey injury in the game
today because of the physcial contact. Of the injuries reported in the 1993-
1994 hockey season, 12% of those were shoulder related. Injury to the acromio-
clavicular joint was the most frequent because of the bodychecking. Every time
a player steps on the ice, he is constantly being pounded into the boards,
shoulder first. The glenohumeral was often being injuried mainly from fighting
and accidental contact. Hockey manufactures are constantly trying to improve
shoulder pads so this injury will not happen.
The knee followed closely behind the shoulder being injured 11% of the
time. A knee injury is very serious in hockey because it can end a player's
career. Knee injuries usually occur in the open ice area when a player is
cutting hard and is kneed or tripped by an opposing player. Accidentally
colliding with an opposing player or one of your own teamates, often ends in
knee related injuries. The medial collateral ligament was damaged in 80% of all
reported knee injuries, followed by the lateral collateral ligament 10% of the
time. The cruciate ligament and meniscal were injured 3% of the time.
Head injuries are the third most common type of hockey injury accounting
for 8% of all injuries. If you were to include facial injuries which would be a
combination of the head, teeth/mouth, jaw/chin and eye injuries they would
represent 26% of all reported injuries. A special analysis has been undertaken
by the Hockey Development Centre of Canada to better understand this problem.
The head is often driven into the boards awkwardly which leads to concussions.
NHL,OHL amd Junior A players are suffering head injuries because they do not
have to wear full face masks and are subject to stick infraction.
Catastrophic injury is any incident causing death or permanent long term
disability. Hockey played out of Ontario has seen a dramatic decrease in
catastrophic injuries. There were 26 such injuries in 1992 compared to 44 in
1989 and 79 in 1986. In the past, Ontario had represented almost half of (more
than 200) spinal injuries since 1976. The reduction of these numbers is due
from hockey executives who introduced a rule prohibiting checking from behind in
the 1985 season. A report done by Glen Mccurdie (manager of the health benifts
for the CHA) told of nine Canadian players who suffered broken necks, with three
reslting in quadriplegia. In the 1992 season four players suffered broken necks,
two were classed as unavoidable because they involved players losing their
balance and falling into the boards.
Finally, league and executive members are beginning to crack down on
people who hit from behind and cause catastrophic injuries. On December 6, 1994,
OHL commissioner David Branch suspended Steve McLaren for the entire season
after he ran Ottawa 67's Jure Kovacevic from behind. Kovacevic sustained a
broken vertebrae and cracked ribs when hit into the boards. Kovacevic is still
recovering from the injury even though he was not paralyzed. Almost six years
ago another Ottawa player, Grant Marshall was hit from behind by Jason Young
and broke his neck. Young was also suspended for the year. Marshall, luckly
was able to return after a long term therapy and was drafted first round to the
Toronto Maple Leafs the next year.
Checking from behind is a very serious matter and it comprised 11.13% of
all reports filed. Checking from behind is found most frequent in the Bantam
(34.73%) and Midget (23.62%) age groups. Players at this age are just beginning
to incorporate hitting into their game. Many children are not properly taught
the basics of hitting in their peewee years and because of this they develop bad
checking habits, and this is were checking from behind comes into play. To make
hockey a safer game to play, hitting from behind must be put to a complete.
Parents, coaches, fans and players have to become better educated for this to
Having the right protective equipment when playing hockey is so very
important because of the physical contact. Every year players are receiving
serious injuries because they have the wrong hockey equipment. Unnecessary
injury can reult from incorrectly fitted equipment. All hockey players should
have and learn how to tell if their equipment is properly protecting them.
SKATES- Should provide protection for the entire foot and the ankle area
(achilles tendon). Your feet should fit with your toes just
barely touching the front of your skate.
SHIN PADS- Must be properly postioned at the knees for full flexibility and
extend just to the skate top. The shin pads should not roll off
your knee at any time in a game. They should also be
protective enough to with-stand a hard shot or slash.
ATHLETIC SUPPORT- Should be fitted comfortably, according to waist
size. A proper cup must be worn at all times.
HOCKEY PANTS- The short pants (tackula) should be about six inches
larger than the player's waist size to give extra protection and
flexibilty. Always check to make sure that all the padding is
in the right place and does not fall out.
GLOVES- Must be snug but not to tight and should over-lap your elbow
pad to protect your forearm. Players should be using full
wrist cuffs instead of the short cuffs because they give you
the extra protection you need around your wrists.
ELBOW PADS- The elbow joint should rest firmly in the cup. The elastics
or velcro should feel snug and tight. For more upper arm
protection, your elbow pads should be long enough ...
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