The experts at Summit Orthopedics provide hockey injury prevention tips in their QUICKGuide to prevent injuries and stay safe during the sport.
Invest in good equipment
There are two dynamics at play here: fit and condition. You want all equipment to fit the player well; over- or under-sized equipment can mean increased risk of injury. Used equipment can be a great money saver, but when buying equipment, make sure to check it thoroughly for damage, as significant wear and tear from use can reduce its effectiveness.
“But it’s my lucky glove”
All too often, players can become attached to a certain piece of equipment, whether from superstition, ritual or just comfort, making it hard for them to give it up. When it comes to protective equipment, it’s important to switch it out when the padding becomes worn or it no longer fits well.
Aggression and violence
There is such a thing as good aggressive play, where the focus is on hustle and getting after the puck. With the collision nature of the sport and the incidence of fighting at professional levels of play, there can be mixed messages for youth that can swing the pendulum from positive aggressive play to violence. As parents, you play an important role in setting the tone. Teaching your kids that rules matter, respect for opponents and to play heads-up hockey cannot be said enough.
Don’t let players become a magnet for concussions
The phrase “heads-up hockey” is everywhere, but it takes a lot of reinforcement and focus on it to become part of the culture of play. There is a natural reflex to duck when there is something coming, but that exposes the neck and head to significant injury. If players are headed for the boards, teach them to twist their body so their shoulder or buttocks takes the hit rather than the head. As parents, learn and teach your child the symptoms of a concussion. A great resource can be found at: http://www.cdc.gov/concussion/sports/index.html. Remember, you don’t have to lose consciousness to have a concussion.
Ask the Expert: Sports Medicine Video Series
For the performance specialists at the Summit Orthopedics Bielenberg Sports Center, the focus is on helping you reach the health goals that enable you to live the life of your dreams.
Early this winter, Dr. Edward T. Su talked with Minnesota Parent about safety guidelines that can help keep children safe while they are enjoying outdoor activities during winter months.