When players crack hard on the gang, skid meter-wide across the ice in a fall, or get a stick between their ribs, you do not want to trade as a spectator. But as hard as ice hockey may seem, the sport is more harmless than many think. Because the professional protective equipment that is standard for hockey players today, can cushion most sticks and falls.
Ice hockey: protection is requirement
Ice hockey is a team sport that takes place with two teams of five field players each and a goalkeeper on an ice surface. With the help of special hockey sticks the players try to transport a hard rubber disc, the so-called puck, into the opponent's goal. Both players wear ice skates and padded protective gear. This consists of a helmet with visor or grille, a neck brace, chest protector, elbow pads, genital protection, shin guards, which extend to over the knee and thick gloves. Thermal underwear and padded trousers are worn under the armor, with the jersey above indicating that they belong to a team. Since the goalkeeper is particularly endangered by the sharp shots with the puck, in addition to the normal equipment he also wears a larynx guard, a breastplate and a special helmet.
Frequent injuries in ice hockey
Up to 160 km / h can reach a hockey puck in a strong blow. If he then encounters an unprotected area, lacerations and bruises are inevitable. Even deliberate or unwanted blows of opponents or a hard impact against the gang, which surrounds the ice, often cause injury. Due to the fast, aggressive style of play and the special conditions on the ice, there is a typical injury pattern in ice hockey. About 80 percent of the injuries represent acute trauma, which usually results from direct physical contact in a duel. The remaining 20 percent is overload damage. Nine out of ten professional players suffer at least one injury per season. However, since the wounds are usually superficial and easy to treat, this statistic does not necessarily testify to the dangerous nature of the sport.
Head and arm injuries in ice hockey
Head injuries are among the most common hockey injuries at 33 percent. On the face, neck and skull of the players, there are often sores or cuts, but most can be supplied or sewn directly on site. Thanks to modern helmets, ice hockey rarely causes serious traumatic brain injury or broken bones on the nose or cheekbone. Since in Germany the wearing of half visors is prescribed, eye injuries in ice hockey are rather rare. At 21 percent, the arms and hands are the second most affected. The shoulder is the most affected, such as bruises in a fall or bouncing on the gang. In spite of shoulder protectors, bruises and lesions often occur due to sticks or pucks. If a club or puck bounces off your fingers with full force, even a well-padded glove can not do much: there are finger breaks, capsule or ligament tears. Especially goalies are threatened by hand injuries.
Ice hockey: injuries to legs and feet
17 percent of sports injuries in ice hockey affect the legs, hips and knees of the players. Classic ice hockey accidents are a ligament tear or a capsule tear in the knee joint, especially on the knee inner band. Even fractures of the kneecap can occur despite knee pads in very hard impact on the ice or on the gang. In the area of the shoe edge, bruises and even fractures due to falls or sticks often occur. With 11 percent frequency, the feet and ankle are at risk of injury. At the ankle ligament tears or injuries of the syndesmosis are frequent. In the foot area, there are always breaks in the metatarsus or at the tarsus. Among the rarer symptoms in hockey are injuries to the spine and the trunk. Collisions with other players or the gang often lead to bruises, but the injuries caused by the thick pads of the protectors are usually not that bad.
Prevention of injury
The majority of injuries in ice hockey are acute. They usually result from aggressive duels, sticks or hits with the puck. Therefore, wearing a professional protective equipment is the basic requirement for a safe game. Long-term damage and muscle injuries can be prevented with extensive warm-up phases before training or competition. If the players are in a good state of training and physically fit, nothing can stand in the way of a low-injury game under the "fair play" principle.