Accidents in Pro Sports

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.


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 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