Background We report the incidence, type, mechanism and severity of ice hockey injuries in women's international ice hockey championships.
Methods All injuries in the International Ice Hockey Federation World Women's Championship, World Women's under-18 Championship and Olympic Winter Games tournaments were analysed over an 8-year period using a strict injury definition, standardised reporting and team physician diagnosis.
Results 168 injuries were recorded in 637 games over an 8-year period resulting in an injury rate (IR) of 6.4 per 1000 player-games and 22.0/1000 player-game hours. The IRs were 2.7/1000 player-games for the lower body, 1.4 for the upper body, 1.3 for the head and face and 0.9 for the spine and trunk. Contusion was the most common injury followed by a sprain. The most commonly injured site was the knee (48.6% of lower body injuries; IR 1.3/1000 player-games). The Medial collateral ligament sprain occurred in 37.1% and ACL rupture in 11.4% of knee injuries. A concussion (74.3%; IR 1.0/1000 player-games) was the most common head injury.
Conclusions and recommendations The risk of injury to female ice hockey players at World Championship and Olympic tournaments was about half of that observed in the men's Championships. Full facial protection decreases the risk of lacerations and should be continued in all future female tournaments. More effective prevention strategies for knee, ankle and shoulder injuries are needed in women's ice hockey. Improved concussion education is necessary to promote more consistent diagnosis and return to play protocols.
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Contributors MT, MJS, MA, PK, KT and JP contributed to study conception and design. MT carried out the literature search and coordinated and managed all parts of the study. MT, MJS and MA conducted data collection and performed preliminary data preparations. MT and KT conducted data analyses and all the authors contributed to the interpretation of data. MT and JP wrote the first draft of the paper and all the authors provided substantive feedback on the paper and contributed to the final manuscript. All the authors have approved the submitted version of the manuscript. MT is the guarantor.
Funding This study was financially supported by The International Ice Hockey Federation and the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture.
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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