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A study on youth ice hockey players was conducted during the 1995-1996 hockey season to obtain data on the occurrence, severity and causes of cerebral concussions as well as to identify the injury response systems and decision processes that coaches use for players injured with concussions. Twenty-eight of 83 teams in the Michigan National Hockey League (MNHL) with approximately 500 hockey players, aged 8 through 17 years, were included in the study. An occurrence rate of 1 concussion in 20 players, or 5%, per season was determined. Most of the head-injuries (64%) were identified as “bell-ringer” concussions. The largest number of concussions were reported for the peewee minor level (28%) followed by the midget major level (24%). Most of the concussions occurred in league games during the first-half of the season. Forwards (wings and centers) had the highest number of recorded concussions. The majority of concussions were caused by collisions between players (56%) or with the boards (28%). The coach or team ”trainer“ was the first to aid the injured player in most of the reported cases. Nearly 90% of the players with concussions returned to play either in the same game or the next scheduled game and less than 30% of the head-injured players were seen by medical doctors for follow-up evaluation and treatment. Training and guidelines for the management of concussion in youth ice hockey players are needed for coaches, assistants, and other non-medical as well as medical personnel who assist the injured player and decide if, and when, the player will return to competition. A national data record and reporting system for head injuries in youth ice hockey players is recommended to fully understand the scope of the problem.
cerebral concussion, head injury, youth sports, sports safety
Youth Ice Hockey Coach, Michigan Amateur Hockey Association, USA Hockey, Lansing, MI