Characteristics of ice hockey-related injuries treated in US emergency departments, 2001-2002.Pediatrics 2004; 114(6):e661-6Ped
Ice hockey, a popular sport in some regions, has potential for injury due to the velocities of players, pucks, and sticks. Previous studies conducted worldwide have shown that the rate of injury increases as the size and the speed of players increase, as well as when checking is allowed. However, national data about the annual number and types of injuries among ice hockey players are lacking. Data from previous studies were collected from regional tournaments, collegiate teams, local emergency departments (EDs), and different countries. The purpose of this article is to examine ice hockey injuries using a national US database to determine the age distribution of total injuries, injury types, and body regions injured, with a particular focus on ice hockey players <18 years old.
Data regarding ice hockey-related injuries treated in US EDs between January 1, 2001, and December 31, 2002, were extracted from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS). Data considered included age, gender, race, injury diagnosis, and body region injured. Ice hockey-related injury cases were identified using the consumer product code for ice hockey and the narrative description of the incident in NEISS.
An estimated 32,750 individuals with ice hockey-related injuries were treated in US EDs in 2001-2002, including >18,000 youths <18 years old. The number of injuries peak through adolescence (ages 12-17; 47% of all injuries). Males experienced 90% of all injuries. A very small percentage of individuals were hospitalized after injury (1.2% of individuals <18 years old; 0.5% of individuals > or =18 years old). The incidence of head injuries increased as age decreased, although the trend was not statistically significant. The upper extremity (44%) accounted for the highest total percentages of body regions injured for youths <18 years old, and trunk (14%) and facial injuries (10%) represented the smallest total percentages. Players > or =18 years old had significantly more lacerations than younger players (38% of injuries for 18- to 24-year-olds; 25% for 25- to 34-year-olds; 50% for 35- to 44-year-olds compared with 19% for 6- to 11-year-olds and 14% for 12- to 17-year-olds).
Adolescents had the greatest number of ice hockey-related injuries treated in NEISS hospital EDs in 2001-2002; thus, ongoing efforts to develop injury prevention strategies should focus on this age group. Players < or =17 years old had a lower percentage of lacerations compared with all older players and a higher percentage of upper extremity injuries. The percentage of individuals hospitalized after injury was very low, yet youths <18 years old had twice the percentage of hospitalization after injury compared with individuals > or =18 years old. Males experienced the vast majority of all ice hockey-related injuries, with females representing a higher percentage of injuries among youths than among adults. Children and adults alike can reap the physical fitness and social benefits from ice hockey, when they are able to avoid predictable and preventable injuries.