Measurement of head impacts in youth ice hockey players.Int J Sports Med 2010; 31(11):826-33IJ
Despite growing interest in the biomechanical mechanisms of sports-related concussion, ice hockey and the youth sport population has not been studied extensively. The purpose of this pilot study was: 1) to describe the biomechanical measures of head impacts in youth minor ice hockey players; and, 2) to investigate the influence of player and game characteristics on the number and magnitude of head impacts. Data was collected from 13 players from a single competitive Bantam boy's (ages 13-14 years) AAA ice hockey team using telemetric accelerometers implanted within the players' helmets at 27 ice hockey games. The average linear acceleration, rotational acceleration, Gadd Severity Index and Head Injury Criterion of head impacts were recorded. A significantly higher number of head impacts per player per game were found for wingers when compared to centre and defense player positions (df=355, t=3.087, p=0.00218) and for tournament games when compared to regular season and playoff games (df=355, t=2.641, p=0.086). A significant difference in rotational acceleration according to player position (F2,1812=4.9551, p=0.0071) was found. This study is an initial step towards a greater understanding of head impacts in youth ice hockey.