by Dr. Lauren Bachand, DPT and Jared Ferreira, ATC
As a highly physical sport, athletes can be prone to injuries, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t play due to fear of an injury. Research on assessing the risk of injury is always developing, and new preventative measure can be put in place to help decrease your risk of an injury.
Injury Prevention Proper injury prevention training during the preseason is critical to help keep players safe and on the ice all season long. During the preseason, players should focus on strengthening all the muscle groups, but pay special attention to those of the core and around the hips.
A good warm-up and stretching routine can help increase blood flow and the flexibility required for muscles to prepare for activity. Also, proper endurance training will ensure athletes don’t get overly tired later in the game, causing their actions and reflexes to be slow, which affects their ability to avoid contact.
Proper fitting equipment (pads and skates) is key to protecting the body from all the contact received from other players, pucks, and the boards. If an injury does occur, it is important to complete all return to play protocols and receive proper clearance from an athletic trainer or another orthopedic medical professional before getting back on the ice.
Most importantly, staying smart on the ice by keeping alert of other players and one’s positioning can help anticipate contact ahead of time, while learning and practicing the proper form of how to check, be checked, and avoid contact quickly can help prevent you from sustaining an injury.
Download the full version of the top 10 stretches and dynamic warm up here
Top 10 stretches to help avoid common injuries and assist muscle recovery