Objective: To determine the rate, type, and severity of injuries to child hockey players as well as assessing coaches', parents', and players' attitudes and knowledge of hockey.
Design: A prospective observation of a population's injuries using injury-reporting forms and surveys.
Setting: A community-organized hockey program in Minnesota.
Participants: One hundred fifty boys, aged 9 through 15 years, who played ice hockey during the 1990-1991 winter season.
Measurements and main results: Injuries were reported by multiple observers, including coaches, managers, and trained independent observers at the time an injury occurred; coaches, parents, and players were surveyed regarding hockey injuries, knowledge, and attitudes. One in three players experienced an injury during the season. The most common injuries were contusions. Six of 100 players experienced injuries severe enough to require cessation of physical activities for 8 to 25 days or longer. Weight differences of 53 kg and height differences of 55 cm were reported between Bantam-aged players (13 through 15 years), and body contact, including legal checks, accounted for 86% of injuries during games. Illegal checks and violations were associated with 66% of injuries during games, yet only four penalties (14%) were assessed. In addition, one in three games in which an injury resulted was described as hostile and 15% of the injuries were considered intentional.
Conclusions: Eliminating violence and body checking for prepubertal boys while emphasizing rule enforcement and good sportsmanship are recommended.