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Injuries in collegiate ice hockey have been monitored since 1986 by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Injury Surveillance System (ISS). Injury data are reported from a sampling of member institutions based on regional and divisional representation. Such a sampling allows for a national evaluation of collegiate ice hockey injuries. Relative to the other 15 collegiate sports monitored by the ISS, ice hockey has a low practice injury rate (2.4 injuries/1000 athlete-exposure [A-E]) and a moderate game injury rate (16.2). Sixty-six percent of the injuries in collegiate ice hockey occur in game situations, the highest percentage of the 16 monitored sports. Over the past five years, practice injury rates in NCAA ice hockey have remained stable while game injury rates have increased slightly. Contusions, sprains, and strains have consistently been the top three types of injuries. In the past two years, knee injuries have replaced shoulder injuries as the top body part injured. The collateral ligament is the primary structure injured in the knee, while acromio-clavicular separation is the primary type of shoulder injury. Injuries to the head have accounted for 5% of all injuries in each of the last five years. Concussions account for over 80% of the head injuries, and this value has remained stable over the sampling period. During this same time period, neck, nerve, and spinal injuries accounted for 1.8, 1.0, and 0.2%, respectively, of all reported injuries. Player contact is the primary injury mechanism in the sport, particularly in the knee, shoulder, head, neck, and nerve categories. These injury data should form the basis for review of ice hockey training techniques, practice procedures, rules, rink construction, and player equipment to minimize further injuries in the sport.
NCAA Injury Surveillance System (ISS), ice hockey, injuries, college, knee, shoulder, head, spine, concussion
Assistant director of Sports Sciences, National Collegiate Athletic Association, Overland, KS