Objective: This study was conducted to identify the circumstances, timing, frequency, and types of injuries for a Junior A hockey team in an attempt to develop injury prevention strategies.
Design: This study was a prospective review of injuries sustained by a hockey team during one season.
Setting: Players were evaluated in a private practice clinical setting and during practices and games.
Participants: Twenty-two hockey players (16-20 years old) were evaluated. An injury was defined as any event requiring the attention of a physician or trainer. The players sustained 83 injuries throughout the course of the season. Seventy-four were considered independent events.
Main outcome measures: The effects of the following variables on injury rates were analyzed: position, game situation versus practice, and timing of injury during the game.
Results: Players were 20 times more likely to injure themselves during a game than practice. Although forwards sustained the highest total percentage of injuries, defensemen had the highest incidence of injury in games. More injuries occurred in the later periods and in the later minutes of each period. Injury incidence decreased for the second half of the season compared with the first half.
Conclusion: Our data suggest goaltenders are at the lowest risk of sustaining an injury, but forwards appear to be at a higher risk in practice situations and defensemen in games. Game situations place players at a much greater risk of injury than practice sessions, particularly in the later portions of each period and toward the end of the game. Given the propensity for injury in the early season and later in the game, endurance training before and during the season may be important in injury prevention.