Objective: This article reviews the distribution and determinants of injuries reported in the pediatric ice hockey literature, and suggests potential injury prevention strategies and directions for further research.
Data sources: Thirteen electronic databases, the ISI Web of Science, and 'grey literature' databases were searched using a combination of Medical Subject Headings and text words to identify potentially relevant articles. The bibliographies of selected studies were searched to identify additional articles. Studies were selected for review based on predetermined inclusion and exclusion criteria.
Main results: A comparison between studies on this topic area was difficult due to the variability in research designs, definition of injury, study populations, and measurements used to assess injury. The majority of injuries were sustained during games compared with practices. The two most commonly reported injuries were sprains/strains and contusions. Players competing at the Minor hockey, High School, and Junior levels of competition sustained most of their injuries to the upper extremity, head, and lower extremity, respectively. The primary mechanism of injury was body checking, followed by stick and puck contact. The frequency of catastrophic eye injuries has been significantly reduced with the world-wide mandation of full facial protection for all Minor hockey players.
Conclusions: Specific hockey-related injury risk factors are poorly delineated and rarely studied among pediatric ice hockey players leaving large gaps in the knowledge of appropriate prevention strategies. Risk management strategies should be focused at avoiding unnecessary foreseeable risk, and controlling the risks inherent to the sport. Suggestions for injury prevention and future research are discussed.