Hundreds of thousands of Americans play hockey each year, and for good reason—hockey can be an intense workout session that can burn upwards of 700 calories each hour on the rink. Aside from being a great way to get your body moving and burning calories, it comes at a price. Hockey is one of the most physically demanding sports there are, especially when you factor in the frequent checks and bodily contact.
While it isn’t easy to prevent many of the injuries that occur on the ice, there are some steps that can be done to decrease the severity of them. Here is a bit more information about some common hockey injuries and what causes them.
Shoulder joint injuries
This is one of the most frequent injuries from playing hockey. Whether it’s from slamming into another player or getting checked against the boards, your shoulders tend to take the brunt of the impact.
Similar to the shoulder, your collarbone area tends to take the brunt of the impact when being hit. This is mostly because your collarbone provides stability and strength to the shoulders.
Unfortunately, this is one of the most common and severe injuries that often plague hockey players. Caused by repeated, heavy blows to the head (such as being knocked against the boards or punched by an opposing player), are oftentimes unavoidable. New studies have revealed that even one concussion can cause lasting damage to the brain.
Pulled groin muscles
Making up 10% of all injuries in the NHL, pulled ground muscles are a frequent occurrence. These injuries are typically caused by an overextension of legs on the ice or sudden weight shifts between legs.
Anterior cruciate ligament tears
Commonly referred to as ACL, this is a tissue that connects the thigh bone to the shinbone. Tears are typically caused by a sudden twisting motion. ACL tears can oftentimes be devastating, leading to players being unable to play for 6-12 months.
While oftentimes these injuries are difficult to avoid, there are some common preventative measures that you can make to avoid disastrous injuries that prevent you from lacing up again.
Be sure to warm-up and cool-down
Regardless of what sport you play, taking a few minutes before and after training or playing can go a long way in preventing pulled muscles and other injuries. Some useful warmups to incorporate before hitting the ice include:
- Jumping jacks
- Reverse lunges (try using a foam wedge for additional stretching)
- Inch worm to push-ups (incorporating a slant board can help target your calf muscles, as well)
- Standing on one foot with your eyes closed (helps with balance and proprioception)
Invest in the proper equipment
Let’s be real, hockey is a physical sport that involves lots of hard blows and hits to your body. Taking the time to research the proper equipment and ensuring it properly fits will go a long way. While the higher-end equipment is often more expensive, it’s always a good idea to invest in the safety of your body. Look for top-rated equipment from reputable brands for maximum peace of mind.
Roll it out
After a strenuous game or a killer workout session, take 10-15 minutes to use a foam roller to release any tension throughout your body. Be sure to pay attention to your quads, calves, hip flexors, and hamstrings as these are all frequently used muscle groups. It also may be beneficial to incorporate the use of a trigger point massager for an even deeper tissue massage. The use of a trigger point massager helps release lactic acid buildup, which leads to sore and achy muscles.
Listen to your body
One of the worst things you can do is pushing your body beyond its limits. If you’re aching or recovering from an injury, take some time off of the rink to let your body heal. While it might not be feasible to completely stop training, try focusing on targeting the parts of your body that aren’t injured or hurting.
Playing hockey is a great workout that can be incredibly helpful with staying active during the winter months. If you’re stuck inside and are looking for alternative options to get moving, here are some helpful resources to do that. We’re constantly rolling out additional tutorials, helpful tips, and other resources to help you get the most out of your StrongTek products. Please subscribe to our newsletter to get our most recent articles delivered straight to your inbox. As a bonus, subscribers will receive exclusive offers and inside information about upcoming products.