Experiencing body checks doesn’t protect teen hockey players from injury

“We found that among 15- to 17-year-old ice hockey players in elite leagues that allow physical examination, the rates of injury and concussion were more than twice as high for those with more body-examination experience (3 years or more) than players less than 2 years.” Dr. Paul Eliason, lead author and postdoctoral scholar at the Sports Injury Prevention Research Center, Department Kinesiology, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta.

Although there is strong evidence that disallowing body examinations during youth ice hockey games reduces injury rates including concussionsome argue that accumulating physical examination experience earlier could protect players from injury, including concussion, when they come of age to compete in tournaments where body checks are allowed by policy in the game.


Researchers collected injury surveillance data on 941 hockey players aged 15-17 across 186 teams in Alberta, Canada, over three seasons (2015/16 through 2017/18) to identify relationship between the number of years of accumulated experience examining the body in matches there allows and the incidence of injuries and concussions among players. Regardless of the time of physical examination experience, concussion is the most common injury in this age groupaccounts for more than a third (34%) of all injuries.

Dr Carolyn Emery, principal investigator, Canada Research said: “This review provides important evidence for recent as well as future policy decisions regarding body testing in hockey. ice needs for teenagers and help ensure that there are no unintended consequences of these policies. Chair and Chair of the Sports Injury Prevention Research Center, Department of Kinesiology, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta.

This study provides further evidence supporting the elimination of body testing in youth ice hockey to reduce injury and concussion rates.

Source: Eurekalert

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