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; oversized or undersized 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, since significant wear and tear from use can reduce its effectiveness.
Train for strength and mobility
It is important that athletes have the necessary strength and mobility/flexibility to play this high-intensity, fast-paced sport. When training, emphasize core strength, hip and knee strengthening, and dynamic stabilization training to the knee and shoulder region. The most common injuries that are preventable include muscle strains to your groin, hamstrings, quadriceps, and trunk region.
Avoid overuse of muscles
So many sports like hockey have now become year round, which tends to result in strain and overuse of the muscle involved in those repetitive movements. Make sure you allow time for your body to heal and recover. It is important to maintain balance and develop other necessary skills. Try playing other sports during the off-season, or incorporate other recreational activities.
Eat healthy and stay hydrated
Your body needs fuel, not just to perform better but to heal and recover as well. Many foods provide natural anti-inflammatory effects, just the way many foods will increase inflammation in your body, which can result in prolonged healing and even increased pain.
Don’t return too soon
It is important that you return to your sport when it is safe to do so after an injury. Listen to your body; it knows best. Make sure that you always seek the advice of a medical professional (physician, physical therapist, athletic trainer), since they can help guide you back to full participation.
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 take the hit rather than the head. As parents, learn the symptoms of a concussion and teach them to your child. 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.
Summit Orthopedics offers comprehensive sports medicine expertise
From Olympians to pro athletes to kids in youth sports and those that just want to be more active—Summit Orthopedics delivers expert care by fellowship-trained sports medicine physicians. If you are recently injured or concerned about ongoing pain, Summit Orthopedics sports medicine specialists have the expertise to evaluate your discomfort and develop a plan to quickly and safely help you get back to being active.
Summit has convenient locations across the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area, serving Minnesota and western Wisconsin. We have state-of-the-art centers for comprehensive orthopedic care in Eagan, MN, Vadnais Heights, MN, Plymouth, MN, and Woodbury, MN, as well as several additional community clinics.
More resources for you
Ask the Expert: Sports Medicine Video Series
For the performance specialists at the Summit Orthopedics HealthEast 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.