As the NHL season begins, the number of children and adults who hit the ice trying to emulate their heroes starts to climb. This usually ends with some sore muscles and a few bruises. But for those unfortunate few, a friendly game can result in a trip to a medical professional. Here is more information on diagnosing the most common injuries for hockey players.
It should surprise absolutely no one that concussions are a concern every time someone experiences a blow to the head. These are among the most debilitating injuries a hockey player can suffer. Helmets and padding help prevent many injuries, but sometimes, players will require medical intervention. Players experiencing dizziness or headaches following any head contact should seek immediate medical attention.
Shoulder injuries, especially separated shoulders, can also cause a visit to the doctor. These can occur at any point in a game, but they happen most often when getting checked into the boards, falling to the ice, or initiating contact with another player. Reliable equipment and proper form can help eliminate much of the risk.
An injury to the MCL, a ligament running up the inner part of the knee, can sideline even the strongest player if severe enough. Blows to the outside of the knee are the most likely cause of these injuries. More severe damage often requires imaging at a well-equipped medical facility to discover the seriousness of the injury.
Groin or Hamstring Pull
Another injury potentially requiring medical imaging is a groin or hamstring pull. These can happen when there is a sudden, forceful start, like when pushing off for a breakaway. Stretching and proper hydration reduces the likelihood of these injuries.
A sprained ankle can happen at any time, but it is more likely to occur when you find yourself suddenly changing direction on the ice. Properly lace your skates before each game and make sure that they are the proper size. If you suspect that the damage is more severe, see a doctor who specializes in sports medicine and has experience diagnosing the most common injuries for hockey players.