Accidents in Hockey


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
the head.
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 INJURIES

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