Ice hockey differs in dynamic, allowed body contact and equipment from other team sports, probably leading to a higher injury risk. Thus, ice hockey captures the first place of the injury statistics in German professional team sports. Therefore, the aim of this study was to analyse the epidemiology in German professional ice hockey and to elaborate appropriate prevention measures.
The underlying database considers DEL players and describes injuries, resulting disabilities and costs. Additional information concerning injury situations and mechanisms was collected by means of a questionnaire-based survey. Between July 2007 and June 2008 professionals, who registered injuries received a questionnaire for detailed description of the accident. 914 injuries causing costs were registered. Response rate reached 12.4%.
Thus, each DEL player sustains an average of 2.6 injuries per season. Half of those injuries lead to temporary incapacity for work. The other half merely causes treatment costs. Nine of 10 players sustain at least one injury per season. The injury list permanently contains 25% of all DEL players. Injury costs including treatment costs and lost staff costs amount to 8 million per year. 54% of all costs are allotted to knee (24%), head (16%) and shoulder injuries (14%). Remarkably, 67.2% of irregular actions leading to injuries had not been judged as a foul by the referee.
Elaborated preventive measures focus on protective equipment, training measures concurrently reducing injuries and enhancing performance – in particular checking performance, revised education of referees, consistent penalisation and fair play.
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