Objective To determine the association between previous history of concussion and sport-specific skill performance in youth ice hockey players.
Setting Arenas in Calgary, Alberta, Canada over three seasons of play (2012–2015).
Participants Five hundred and ninety-six players were recruited from youth hockey teams [525 males and 71 females, aged 11-17, representing elite (upper 30% by division of play) and non-elite (lower 70%)].
Assessment of risk factors Players completed a baseline questionnaire including the number, date of occurrence, and length of recovery following any previous concussions.
Outcome measures On-ice skills performance was measured using the Hockey Canada Skills Test (HCST) battery including forward agility weave, forward to backward transition agility, forward/backward speed skate, and a 6-repeat endurance skate
Results Previous history of concussion and time since most recent concussion were not associated with any HCST component. Players reporting two or more concussions were faster than those with no history of concussion on forward agility weave with the puck [−7.32 (95% CI: −11.05, −3.59)]. For every additional day of recovery post-concussion, a player’s time was significantly faster on forward agility weave with [−0.11 (95% CI: −0.16, −0.05] and without the puck [−0.08 (95% CI: −0.13, −0.04], transition agility without the puck [−0.01 (95% CI: −0.02, −0.01], and backward speed with [−0.06 (95% CI: −0.1, −0.03)] and without the puck[−0.05 (95% CI: −0.07, −0.03)].
Conclusions Players with a concussion history had similar HCST performance scores to those without. A longer post-concussion recovery was associated with better performance. These results provide reference values which will inform risk assessment and future injury prevention studies.
Competing interests None.