SYMPOSIA PAPER Published: 30 June 2014

Epidemiology of Ice Hockey Injury Research Using Reliable Exposure Time Software


A significant issue in research on the epidemiology of injury relates not to the numerator (injury), but to the denominator: exposure time. Most hockey injury studies “assume” equivalent playing time. This assumption is not problematic for large investigations designed to establish differences in concussion rates between levels of participation. However, the assumption is a serious issue when investigators are testing differences in rules, coaching programs, skills training, and behavioral interventions. Because players are at higher risk for injuries when fatigued, individual exposure time is important. Until recently, analyzing individual playing times for ice hockey teams has been a daunting task, as it involved the hand-written recording of times using a grid and check marks. During the 2011–2012 season, a computer-based program, Time on Ice (TOI), was used to expedite the accurate recording of individual exposure, including shorthanded and power-play situations. The purpose of using TOI software in this study was to ensure that its results were in agreement with the exposure times recorded manually using a paper-and-pencil grid. Preliminary results from six games (12 records of data) showed that exposure time ranged from 6.3 to 26.4 min when using manual recording and 8.3 to 33.2 min when using TOI. These methods were concluded to be in agreement. Now that software has been developed exclusively for the task of tracking time on ice, it is recommended that exposure time be measured when injuries such as concussion are being evaluated and causation is being determined. The Sport Performance Analyzer TOI system is commercially available.

Author Information

Twardowski, Casey, P.
Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine Center, Rochester, MN, US
Smith, Aynsley, M.
Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine Center, Rochester, MN, US
Gaz, Daniel, V.
Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine Center, Rochester, MN, US
Larson, Dirk, R.
Health Sciences Research Department, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, US
Stuart, Michael, J.
Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine Center, Rochester, MN, US
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Developed by Committee: F08
Pages: 1–9
DOI: 10.1520/STP155220120153
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-7582-2
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-7538-9