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Review
, 185 (1), E57-69

Effectiveness of Interventions to Reduce Aggression and Injuries Among Ice Hockey Players: A Systematic Review

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Review

Effectiveness of Interventions to Reduce Aggression and Injuries Among Ice Hockey Players: A Systematic Review

Michael D Cusimano et al. CMAJ.

Abstract

Background: The increasing incidence of injuries related to playing ice hockey is an important public health issue. We conducted a systematic review to evaluate the effectiveness of interventions designed to reduce injuries related to aggressive acts in ice hockey.

Methods: We identified relevant articles by searching electronic databases from their inception through July 2012, by using Internet search engines, and by manually searching sports medicine journals, the book series Safety in Ice Hockey and reference lists of included articles. We included studies that evaluated interventions to reduce aggression-related injuries and reported ratings of aggressive behaviour or rates of penalties or injuries.

Results: We identified 18 eligible studies. Most involved players in minor hockey leagues. Of 13 studies that evaluated changes in mandatory rules intended to lessen aggression (most commonly the restriction of body-checking), 11 observed a reduction in penalty or injury rates associated with rule changes, and 9 of these showed a statistically significant decrease. The mean number of penalties decreased by 1.2-5.9 per game, and injury rates decreased 3- to 12-fold. All 3 studies of educational interventions showed a reduction in penalty rates, but they were not powered or designed to show a change in injury rates. In 2 studies of cognitive behavioural interventions, reductions in aggressive behaviours were observed.

Interpretation: Changes to mandatory rules were associated with reductions in penalties for aggressive acts and in injuries related to aggression among ice hockey players. Effects of educational and cognitive behavioural interventions on injury rates are less clear. Well-designed studies of multifaceted strategies that combine such approaches are required.

Figures

Figure 1:
Figure 1:
Selection of articles for inclusion in the systematic review.

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