Youth Ice Hockey Related Injury and Concussion: Informing Prevention Through Modifiable Risk Factors

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Ice hockey is a popular sport in Canada, yet is considered a high-risk sport for injury. To prevent these injuries, potential risk factors must be identified to inform injury prevention strategies. Further, injury prevention strategies that have been implemented should be evaluated to ensure no unintended injury consequences have occurred. In this dissertation, the potential risk factors for injury and prevention strategies in youth ice hockey are reviewed and limitations of the literature are discussed to help inform the next steps for injury prevention. The association between on-ice skill performance and injury is also examined. This will help provide a better understanding of the potentially modifiable risk factors for injury in youth ice hockey and will further aid in the development of targeted interventions. Additionally, the rates of injury and concussion among under-15 (ages 13-14) ice hockey players playing in leagues allowing body checking, but who have varying years of body checking experience is explored. Finally, the association of body checking experience and rates of injury and concussion in under-18 players (ages 15-17) are assessed. These evaluations will provide important evidence for recent and potentially future body checking policy changes in youth ice hockey. Policy permitting body checking continues to be the most relevant modifiable risk factor in youth ice hockey. A faster time on the transition agility (suggesting higher skill) was associated with a higher rate of injury among 11-17-year-olds. Among 13-14-year-olds participating in a body checking league, there were no significant differences in the rates of injury or concussion among players that had no body checking experience and those that had either 1 year or 2+ years of experience. Among 15-17-year-olds, the adjusted rates of injury and concussion were higher among those with more body checking experience (3 years) than those with less experience (2 years). These studies provide further evidence in support of disallowing body checking in younger age groups in youth ice hockey to reduce injury and concussion rates, with no adverse consequences related to less body checking experience when engaged in leagues allowing body checking in older age groups (ages 13-17).
Ice hockey, Hockey, Youth, Adolescent, Concussion, Injury, Prevention, Risk Factors, Body checking, Body checking experience, Performance, Skills, Hockey Canada Skills Test, Primary prevention
Eliason, P. H. (2021). Youth Ice Hockey Related Injury and Concussion: Informing Prevention Through Modifiable Risk Factors (Doctoral thesis, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada). Retrieved from