Background Injury incidences during international major ice hockey events are high, but information about ice hockey injuries in Germany, particularly in regular league play, is lacking.
Objective Analysis of injury characteristics in German professional ice hockey.
Design Prospective observational cohort study.
Setting Two highest German professional leagues in men's ice hockey.
Participants All first and second division ice hockey players who played at least in one competitive club match during the season 2014/15 season (n=812).
Assessment of Risk Factors Analysis of all injuries of these players that were registered by clubs or physicians with the VBG as a part of the occupational accident reporting and that either led to the player's short-term disability (time-loss) and/or to medical treatment costs (medical-attention).
Main Outcome Measurements Injury prevalence and incidence, injured body parts, type of injury, medical treatment costs, days of absence.
Results A total of 2.045 injuries were recorded. 76.7% of all players were injured at least once. In mean each player had 2.52 injuries per season. Incidence rate in the first division (2.7 injuries/season) was significantly higher than in second division (2.3 injuries/season). The majority of injuries (69.1%) occurred during matches with a match incidence of 136.8 injuries per 1000 h. Nearly one third (30.7%) of all training injuries occurred during the pre-season. The head (17.9%), the shoulder (10.7%) and the thigh (10.1%) were the body parts most frequently affected. Shoulder injuries lead to the highest share of overall time-loss (20.5%) and medical treatment costs (22.0%). Goalkeeper had significant lower overall risk of injury (1.5 injuries/season), but higher risk of knee and thigh injuries.
Conclusions Injury Risk in German professional ice hockey is high, especially during match play. Preventive measures should aim at sport- and position-specific risk factors. Special focus should be laid on player preparedness after off-season break.