Background The objectives of this cohort study were to examine the rate, types, mechanisms and risk factors for injury in female youth (ages 9–17) ice hockey players in the Girls Hockey Calgary Association.
Methods The main outcome was ice hockey injury, defined as any injury occurring during the 2008/2009 season that required medical attention, and/or removal from a session and/or missing a subsequent session. Potential risk factors included age group, level of play, previous injury, ice hockey experience, physical activity level, weight, height, position of play and menarche. Incidence rate ratios (IRR) were estimated with Poisson Regression adjusted for cluster (team). Exposure data were collected for every session for each participating player.
Results Twenty-eight teams (n=324) from Atom (ages 9–10), PeeWee (11–12), Bantam (13–14) and Midget (15–17) participated with 53 reported injuries. The overall injury rate was 1.9 injuries/1000 player-hours (95% CI 1.4 to 2.7). Previous injury (IRR=2.7, 95% CI 1.7 to 4.3), games (IRR=2.1, 95% CI 1.1 to 4.2), menarche (PeeWee) (IRR=4.1, 95% CI 1.0 to 16.8) were significant risk factors. In Midget, the more elite divisions were associated with a lower injury risk (A-IRR=0.2, 95% CI 0.1 to 0.5) (AAA-IRR=0.5, 95% CI 0.2 to 0.9).
Conclusions Injury rates were lower in this study than previously found in male youth and women's ice hockey populations. Previous injury and game play as risk factors are consistent with the literature. Menarche as a risk factor is a new finding in this study. This research will inform future studies of the development of injury prevention strategies in this population.
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