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Healthy Roster provides patient engagement, care coordination, telemedicine and outreach tools for Sports Medicine, Orthopedics and other medical specialties. We enable patients to communicate with providers, reducing communication gaps, phone tag, and readmissions. Use with Home Health & SNF’s to manage CJR and Cardiac bundled payments.

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Filtering by Tag: winter

5 Things You Should Know About Ice Hockey Injuries

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Ice Hockey Injuries

5 Things You Should Know

As the month of February kicks off, ice hockey teams across all levels are entering the latter halves of their season, many of them gearing up for a high-energy playoff run. Given the sport’s incredibly fast pace and frequent body contact, the increased intensity during this time of year can put players at a higher risk for getting hurt. With this in mind, we’re taking a look at some of the most important concepts to understand regarding hockey’s common injuries.

Read through these to ensure that once the puck drops, you’re well prepared for whatever the hockey gods throw your way.

  1. Game Versus Practice

    Even though games account for only 23 percent of all collegiate athlete exposures (AE) — defined as a single player participating in a single game or practice, 65 percent of all hockey injuries occur during game time. Another way to look at this is that injuries occur roughly six times as often in games as in practice.


    To understand why this is, one must consider the violent nature of the sport when played at full intensity. Top hockey athletes can skate at speeds of up to 30 mph and shoot the puck upwards of 100 mph. While penalties prohibit players from certain physical behaviors (e.g. directing contact with their elbows, hitting players from behind), using one’s body to check another player, either at open ice or into the boards, is generally legal — and these sorts of collisions account for more than 50 percent of all injuries. Finally, compared to other contact sports such as football or wrestling, hockey sees few stoppages in play. With all of this in mind, it’s easy to understand why players are much more likely to be injured amid the speed and aggression of game play than at a controlled practice.

  2. Variation

    While there are common injuries that routinely occur across all leagues and levels, some variation can be seen as well. For instance, goalies report lower injury rates (2.7 per 1000 AE) than forwards and defensemen (five per 1000 AE), and among the latter, studies show that forwards have a 2.1 times increased risk of concussion. There are considerable differences between genders as well, with men seeing higher rates of injury across all level of play. (It’s important to remember that, even at the professional level, women are not allowed to body check while men are) However, concussions account for a higher percentage of injuries in women’s hockey (17 percent versus eight percent), while men see a higher rate of upper-body injuries. Finally, there has also been some reported variation across styles of play. While European hockey is heavily focused on maintaining possession, Americans favor a “dump-and-chase” style, in which the attacking team shoots the puck into the offensive zone and skates after it at full speed — a style which can put players at a higher risk for dangerous collisions. It’s important that players understand the way in which their style, position, and gender affect their disposition to certain injuries.

  3. Concussions

    Given hockey’s high level of contact, it’s no surprise that concussions represent the most common injury across all levels, accounting for 18.6 percent of all injuries, as well as the second-most amount of time lost from practice or games. At the collegiate level, concussions are more common in women’s hockey, representing 22 percent of game injuries and 13 percent of practice injuries.


    Lacerations also contribute to the high occurrence of injuries to the head and face. However, leagues have taken considerable measures to decrease this, from penalizing contact to the head to requiring players up to the collegiate level to wear full face masks. Regardless, with the amount of concussions and other head injuries, it’s essential for athletic trainers, players, and coaches to understand how to recognize and treat these conditions.

  4. Body Checking

    As we mentioned before, it’s hockey’s uniquely fast play and high rate of body collisions that contribute to many of its injuries. For instance, the acromioclavicular (AC) joint sprain, which accounts for 59 percent of all shoulder injuries, occurs more often once male players reach the age in which they’re allowed to body check. Especially when hit into the boards (legally), players who are checked often have their AC joint placed in a position to absorb a lot of force.


    Because of this, body checking has received much of the focus with regard to injury prevention in recent years, particularly in youth hockey. For instance, in 2011, USA Hockey increased the level of play at which body checking was allowed from Pee Wee (11-12 years old) to Bantam (13-14). Despite arguments that kids should learn to check “properly” at a young age, the rules change was followed by a 20 percent decrease in overall injury, with 23 percent drop in fractures and a 41 percent decrease in internal organ damage.

  5. Unique Injuries

    Ice hockey’s setting and style puts its players at a predisposition for certain injuries not as common in other sports. For example, the unique athletic movement involved in skating places demands on the pelvis and hip that can be difficult to manage if the player has suffered a past injury to their adductor or has inadequate adduction strength. As such players transition from one leg to the other during a stride, the loss of pelvic control can lead to a groin strain — one of the most frequently occurring ice hockey injuries. Also distinctive to the sport is the syndesmosis injury, or “high ankle sprain.” Hockey skates are stiff enough to support one’s ankle, but the combination of one’s elevation off the ice (due to the skate blade) and the high speeds and quick directional changes while skating can leave the lower leg just above the ankle at risk for rotational injury.

Tips for Staying Safe and Active in the Winter

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Staying Safe and Active in the Winter

The cold season might have gotten off to a slow start, but given the chilly temperatures and intense snowfall that tore across the Midwest and the Northeast this past weekend, it’s safe to say — winter is here. But that doesn’t mean that you have to put a freeze on your training as well. Even though the days are shorter and the weather is nastier, you can still enjoy an active exercise regimen throughout the winter; you just have to take a few extra precautions to help reduce your risk of injury. Here are a few tips for staying safe until the spring!

Layer Up

Being outside in cold weather puts your body at risk for both hypothermia (a decrease in core temperature) and frostbite (freezing of body tissue). Thus, it’s imperative that you make proper clothing choices before you head out the door. Layering is key when it comes to winter attire, as it allows you to stay comfortable as your body heat rises. Rather than burrowing inside a bulky winter jacket, you should dress in a few layers of lightweight, synthetic material (always avoid cotton, as it will stay cold and damp as you sweat) Then, if you find yourself getting overheated during your workout, you can always shed a layer or two. Additionally, be sure to wear a hat, gloves, and warm socks to protect your extremities, and always pack an extra set of dry clothes.  

Warm Up Properly

To be sure, a proper warm-up should always be an essential part of your workout. Even if you play a winter sport (such as basketball or wrestling) that takes place in a temperature-controlled gymnasium, you can reduce your risk of high-incidence injuries with an active dynamic warm-up. But warming up is even more important when you face a chillier environment. Why? When the temperature drops, your body has to work harder to perform the same tasks, and this can cause your joints and muscles grow stiff. Not only can this make you more sore, but the lack of elasticity can put you at a greater risk for injury. Therefore, you should always start out with at least 10 minutes of stretching and exercises to loosen your muscles and increase your body’s temperature. Click here for more info on designing your dynamic warm-up.

Hydrate

You get thirsty when it’s hot out, so you should be fine leaving your water bottle at home in the winter, right? Think again! In fact, studies have shown an increased risk for dehydration in cold weather. Not only do our bodies work and sweat harder under the extra clothing, but we also lose more water to respiratory fluid loss than we would in warm weather. Additionally, our body adapts to the cold air by sending less blood to the extremities (hence, why our fingers and toes get so chilly) in an attempt to maintain core temperature. That warm blood in our core region can then lead to increased urine production which, in turn, contributes to dehydration. All of this is to say that it’s just as important to stay hydrated in the winter, even if you don’t feel as thirsty. So bring extra fluids and, if possible, cover your mouth and nose to decrease respiratory fluid loss.

Take Precautions

One of the most effective ways to prevent a winter athletic injury is to be prepared. In addition to what we’ve already covered (proper attire, warming up, hydration), this means understanding the particular dangers involved with your activity and knowing how to reduce those risks. Our friends at Children’s Hospital Colorado have compiled a helpful preparation guide for those looking to have some winter fun, so be sure to check it out before you go lace up the ice skates or pull the toboggan out of the shed. Finally, always be sure you understand the warning signs for serious exposure conditions. Though a trip to the ER for hypothermia might kill the high of your workout, it’s certainly better than letting it go untreated.

Now that you’re properly prepared, there’s nothing standing in between you and a wonderful winter workout!