A cut, a bang, a twist, a tear and a break are all injuries that a player, coach or official can face during a game. Some are avoidable and some are not. The most important factor when an injury happens is speed - get the injury looked at as soon as possible. The second factor is to have the injury properly assessed.
To handle the speed factor, teams carry a trainer. This way, at the moment that the injury happens on the ice, the player, official or coach can be looked at within seconds. Proper assessment is the job of a trainer and depending on the severity, the job of a physician, which means that in a serious case, you would be leaving the ice in the middle of the game.
Always get the injured part checked by a physician once the game is over. In case of damage, x-rays are vital for proper assessment. Some injuries could turn out to be life threatening or cause long-term suffering. Why take a chance? Get off the ego trip! There is no shame in reporting your injuries and there can be a lot of pain in trying to play with a wounded body part.
No matter how organized and managed a team might be, a player injury never happens at an expected time. Having an effective plan of action and proper steps makes up the basis of good injury management. The key responsibility for the completion and processing of the steps to handling an injury begins with the Team Trainer. Along with first aid skills goes administrative requirements. A Player Injury Report should be part of any Team’s Administration, so that all the vital and factual information related to the injury and follow up is recorded in one sustainable format.
To be safe, it is a good practice to have all injuries checked out by appropriate physicians. Make sure your team has a policy in place that includes the statement - any injury that removes a player from active participation requires appropriate medical attention and written medical approval prior to the player’s return to team practices and games. A player returning to play when not properly prepared is only increasing the chance of further injury and loss of playing time. Not only is getting medical attention important, but monitoring the injury recovery is tantamount to ensuring that the return of the player to practices and games is properly approved.
It is a worthwhile objective for a team to seek out and gain the services of a “consulting physician”. This person should specialize in injury identification, treatment and management. The team should have a policy that includes how the decisions will be handled for injured players, especially when there is disagreement or concern about a particular diagnosis or treatment.
Make honesty about injuries a key principle of the team operation. The desire to play is a drive that can sometimes have players, parents and coaches not making the most appropriate and safe decisions about an injury. The future development, enjoyment and success of the player are at the core of the decision, and the decision should not be taken lightly.
Another policy for a team to have is related to situations where a doctor’s written permission has been given but the Trainer and Coaching Staff feel the player is still not ready. Key steps to will include:
- Holding a 3 way meeting between player, parent and staff to see how the injured player feels and to get the parents input.
- Seek permission to speak directly to the physician who has granted the approval to return to ensure he understands the concerns and the observations.
- Asking the parents to sign a waiver removing any responsibility from the Team and League in situations where the Team’s staff have concerns about the return of the injured player and parents disagree.
The final policy is around roles and responsibilities. Every team’s Trainer should have the final decision on a player’s physical ability to participate. This is for the well being of the players and the proper implementation of an injury management process.
Your Role Now That You Are Injured
It is vital for the mental state of the injured player and the team, that consideration is given to how to continue to involve that player in as much of the team activity as is possible and safe. This of course will be dependent on the type and extent of injury. Although there is no standard rule throughout hockey, it should be recognized that the player’s bench during a game situation is not an appropriate place for a player who is managing an injury. The player’s bench is a site meant for eligible players and coaching staff.
Seating the player close to the player’s bench is one option, so that he can feel part of the atmosphere. Delegating some key roles to the injured player is also another option to ensure participation. A meaningful assignment is for that player to record statistics related to shots on goal, both in terms of number and locations. This information can be provided to the Coach at the end of each period for between period discussions and feedback. The injured player will be providing an assisting service to his/her team mates, and should be involved in that dressing room dialogue. There are many other ways the injured player can be of assistance on game night. Philosophically, a player “away from the play” due to injury, should not be “away from the team” during a game.
Rebounding from an injury will depend on the severity of that injury. Most players want to return to play quickly, so a prompt recovery is necessary. Three key factors that limit recovery are:
Outside the severity of the injury, the main reason that players recover slowly is that they do not know what the injury is. A player knows that there is pain but has a hard time describing it or does not want to say anything in case it is much worse than he thinks and he will have to take a break from the game.
Recovery from an injury or pain can be a long healing process. Breaks or fractures are always a two to three month recovery period depending on the severity. Treat your body with respect and care and in turn, it will perform for you.
With the upcoming hockey season just around the corner, hockey players of all ages have started to establish routines to ensure a level of optimum performance for themselves. The majority of players seem to focus on the necessity of equipment and on a variety of aspects related to physical and mental preparation.
Unfortunately, recent studies show there’s one area that the vast majority of children and adolescents neglect and that is ‘adequate sleep’. With the understanding that athletes require more sleep than non athletes, all hockey players need to recognize the importance of a regular sleep schedule. In fact, our young hockey players require between 9 to 11 hours of sleep per night. This allows for adequate recovery time from strenuous workouts as well as providing the opportunity for proper growth and physical development. Studies show that growth hormones, necessary for such development, are released during one’s sleep.
Overall, sleep deprivation has a negative impact on a hockey player’s physiology in relation to them being able to perform. If a hockey player is deprived of a good night’s sleep, it may impede the recharging of their energy systems as well. Unfortunately, poor sleep can hinder a hockey player’s necessary tissue repair and growth. As a result, over an extended period of time the hockey player may be susceptible to overtraining and injury.
When a hockey player’s sleeping routine is interrupted, the effect can be extremely detrimental to the player’s level of performance. The following results can occur:
- Diminished reaction time
- Diminished concentration
- Impaired alertness
- Diminishing one’s good judgment
- Decrease in learning
- Prone to injuries
- Negative thoughts
- Heightened stress levels
It becomes quite clear that without adequate rest a hockey player’s psychological and physiological training may break down.
Not to worry. Hockey players can implement a number of daily routines to ensure adequate rest. Things like:
- Reduce time in front of TV and video games.
- Complete homework in a timely manner to avoid last minute time crunches
- Put naps in your preparation time.
However, there is one true place to start - the mattress. Research shows that the key to adequate rest for people including a hockey player or official is to receive the proper mental and physical recovery for consistent optimum performance. What are you sleeping on?
A mattress needs to conform to your body for proper circulation and spinal alignment. Many people think that because young people are not heavy that they don’t require a quality mattress. This is a myth. Owning a quality mattress during a young person’s growing years is extremely important.
The SEALY MATTRESS Company’s research has been based on a ‘motion capture and pressure mapping technique’. They are the leader in conformance design and restorative sleep. While many sleep difficulties may be due to other factors, it 's important not to overlook the importance of your sleep surface. Consider these facts:
- During the next ten years, you will spend about three years asleep.
- Kids require more sleep. Growth hormones are released during sleep, so good sleep is essential for growth and physical development.
- For older people, sleep is essential for rejuvenation and tissue repair.
- Replacing your old bed with a new, more comfortable one can help you fall asleep faster with less tossing and turning.
- If your mattress doesn 't conform to your shape, it can restrict circulation and cause you to lose sleep.
- If your sleep set doesn 't support your spine properly, your discs cannot absorb nutrients; your back muscles will strain, and you may wake up feeling sore and unrested.
The key for people in hockey is to keep things simple. They should listen to their body, own a quality mattress and get adequate sleep to ensure that they have every opportunity to reach their optimum performance level.
Returning to the Ice
Once the injury has been assessed and the healing time is set, it is time to get working again. This is a step by step process for injuries such as muscle twists, ligament damage, bone breaks and bad bruises.
The following steps are needed to get back on the ice.
Equipment : Equipment can be defined as either:
- the manual manipulation of body parts - a therapist or trainer works with your muscles and limbs to stimulate the muscles and ready them for activity
- stimulation electronics - machines that stimulate the muscles and ligaments for example, Tens machine, ultra sound, electronic muscle stimulator
Massage : This is the rubbing of muscles to relieve clotting and stiffness so that movement can happen with ease. There are 2 common types of massage:
- Swedish - for any age over the entire body
- Therapeutic - a repetitive massage that is applied to specific areas of the body
Exercise : The individual actively moves his body to gain strength and flexibility. The focus is to be back to normal movement and speed. The progression of walking to jogging then to sprinting is a good exercise to ease back into shape. Another way is to work with a partner using resistance bands for strengthening leg power.
Learn more about Injury and Recovery
Healing and Recovery for sports injuries.
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