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This study assessed the effects of strength and conditioning drills on muscle endurance, strength, and power of junior hockey players in relation to injuries. Seven players (three forwards, two defense, two goalies) were selected, and injuries were evaluated after one season of junior hockey (1990/1991). Four out of seven had minor injuries, which during 1991 postseason were rehabilitated to strength and range of motion equal to the uninjured side. During the off-season, all seven athletes began a twelve-week strength and conditioning program. This included a pretest of flexibility, push-ups, sit-ups, standing long jump, body composition, height, and weight. The pretest found tightness in all but one athlete for shoulder internal rotation. Averages found were: standing long jump = 2.36 m, push-up (# repetitions X body weight in kilograms) = 2274, elite athletes = 5000; % body fat = 9.6%; sit-ups = 25/32 s. The strength and conditioning drills consisted of weight training three times per week and agility drills (jumping rope), plyometrics (starting the fourth week), leaps, hops, skips, bounds, medicine ball, bar twists, bal- ance drills, and reaction drills all two times per week. The energy system training for the first five weeks was strictly aerobic, working 2 to 3 h total per week. During the last weeks, anaerobic workouts used interval training. A post-test completed the twelve-week program. During the 1991/1992 junior hockey season, all injuries requiring the attention of the team athletic trainer or physician were tracked and analyzed. Injury rate, mechanism, type, and missed time were compared. Physical contact caused almost 50% of the injuries in both groups, and contusions were the most common type of injury. Differences noted were in the injury rate and days missed. The nonprogram group had twice the number of athletes, yet had three times the number of injuries; ten of these injuries needed one to six days of rest. The program group had no missed days for any of their minor injuries. Although previous studies negate the idea of resistance training preventing injuries, the data from this research are significant enough to represent a pilot program for further study of resistance training for reducing the number of minor injuries and the time needed for them to heal.
ice hockey, sports injuries, hockey injuries, strength and conditioning, prevention of injuries
Head athletic therapist, Detroit Falcons, Frasier, MI
Dakota Sports Medicine Clinic, Fargo, ND