Injury Prevention for Ice Hockey
What sport includes skating up to 37 mph on something as hard as ice; puck speeds approaching 100 mph and aggressive contact between players? 1,2 Hockey! As exciting as it can be, hockey is a sport where injuries frequently occur. However, there are important steps that can minimize risk of injury.
Join us in a multiple-part series as we explore:
- The most common causes of injury in Hockey
- The physics of injury prevention for Ice Hockey
- Some home tools/techniques to start preventing injury
- A Case review! Application through photos…
CAUSES OF INJURY:
The most common cause of injury in hockey is collision. In a fast-paced sport, on a very hard surface, this is no surprise. In a collision, the momentum of each player is quickly changed. The resulting forces must be dispersed or absorbed. Remember from physics class: Energy is neither created nor destroyed!
It makes sense that players in positions with more collisions are more at risk for injury. This does not mean goalies should pay less attention to injury prevention! Injuries can still occur when “colliding” with the ice, a wall, or just through the vigorous demands required for skating.
To learn more about the most commonly injured areas of the upper body in hockey, check out this great info put out by Prostock Hockey:
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Pro Stock Hockey, an online hockey store carrying authentic pro stock gear
INJURY PREVENTION FOR ICE HOCKEY:
Inherent risk exists in all sports and not all injuries can be prevented. However, a great many can be minimized or avoided with relative ease! One of the best ways to minimize risk is to improve force distribution/absorption. Force distribution/absorption is a common injury prevention theme for many sports and activities, but it is especially important in collisions.
Remember I said the force from a collision (or fall, etc) must be either dispersed or absorbed? This can be accomplished through outside measures such as body pads as well as through improvement in sport technique. One commonly overlooked and hugely important method of improving force distribution is looking at biomechanics.
Biomechanics is the study of how the body moves. In our next post, I will describe biomechanics by discussing “movement strategies.” In this case, the positioning and stability provided by the body to best adapt to incoming forces. For brevity’s sake, I am going to focus on the central “cylinder” of biomechanics- the trunk. For our purpose, it includes the shoulderblades, chest, abdomen, hips and pelvis as well as 360 degrees around each.
Stay tuned for next month’s blog discussing the central cylinder and the importance of biomechanics in this region. Improving mechanics and coordination of movement in the trunk will reduce risk of injury even outside this area, such as the shoulder, head/neck, knee and even ankle.