Hockey Injuries and Training Exercises
Ice hockey is a popular winter sport in the United States, with thousands of amateur and professional athletes playing every year. Ice hockey is a fast-paced sport that combines players of different size and speed together on an ice rink with furious non-stop action.
Common Hockey Injuries
Due to the hard-hitting, physical nature of the game, players put themselves at risk for injury at any moment while playing. High-impact contact from other players, rigid boards, goal posts, skate blades, sticks, and pucks traveling at high speeds are all factors that can lead to injury in the sport.
The most common injuries in ice hockey include:
For athletes who have experienced a sports-related injury, the UPMC Center for Sports Medicine's orthopaedic surgeons and board certified physical therapists will help to speed recovery and restore function.
Preventing Hockey Injuries
Training tips and techniques
Like many contact sports, the right strength and conditioning training program for ice hockey players can help prevent common injuries, especially in youth players. For hockey injury prevention, athlete's can take the following precautionary steps to lower the risk of hockey-related injury:
- Warm up to prepare the body for activity.
- Stretch the lower back, hips, and groin.
- Wear all of the proper protective equipment designed for each position.
- Know the rules of the game and abide by them.
- Train in the off-season to make the body stronger, more coordinated, and flexible.
- Maintain proper nutrition and hydration to help you perform better during training and for faster recovery.
Hockey Training and Conditioning Exercises
Off-Ice Balance Drills
- Stand on one foot with eyes closed for as long as you can.
- Single-leg squats. Progress to single-leg squat, hopping from leg to leg.
Medicine Ball Twists/Toss
- Turn sideways to a partner and rotate your trunk and throw the ball. Twisting and throwing builds torso strength and dynamic stability needed when shooting a puck.
- At least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise three to four times a week, such as running, bicycle riding, stair climber, or elliptical. Build your heart and lungs so you'll have plenty of wind to move across the ice.
- Build explosive leg strength and balance by jumping laterally over cones or boxes.
Individuals should consult a physician before beginning any kind of training or conditioning program.