Ice Hockey Injuries Treated in Two Emergency Departments

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Injury data for ice hockey was collected over a 1-year period from the emergency departments of the Hotel Dieu and Kingston General Hospitals in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. A total of 833 injuries were treated, 95% of which were to males. The head and neck had the highest injury frequency (31%) followed by the lower extremity (25%), the upper extremity (24%), and the torso (19%). Bruises (40%) were most often diagnosed, followed by lacerations (22%), sprains/strains (19%), and fractures (15%). Facial lacerations were found to be prevalent in an age group that indicates that recreational hockey players are at an elevated risk of facial injury. It is recommended that facial protection should be mandatory in all levels of ice hockey. The data also indicated that many athletes wait too long before seeking treatment for their injuries. The researchers concluded that the emergency department can be a rich source of data in the surveillance of sport and recreation injuries. Prevention strategies can be developed from the injury patterns that appear.

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