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Concussions in international ice hockey championships and olympic winter games between 2006 and 2015
  1. Markku Tuominen1,
  2. Timo Hänninen2,
  3. Jari Parkkari2,
  4. Michael J Stuart1,
  5. Teemu M Luoto3,
  6. Pekka Kannus4,
  7. Mark Aubry1
  1. 1International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF)/Medical Committee; Finnish Ice Hockey Association; Medisport ltd, Tampere, Finland
  2. 2Tampere Research Centre of Sports Medicine, UKK Institute for Health Promotion Research, Tampere, Finland
  3. 3Department of Neurosurgery, Tampere University Hospital, Tampere, Finland
  4. 4Injury and Osteoporosis Research Center, UKK Institute, Tampere, Finland


Objective To describe the occurrence and trend of concussions during the international ice hockey tournaments.

Design Register study.

Setting The International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) World Championships (WC) and Olympic Winter Games (OWG).

Participants A total of 3293 games were played in the 169 tournaments by 1212 teams (26130 players) comprising 142244 athletic game exposures.

Outcome measures One hundred and sixty concussions were observed.

Main results The average injury rate (IR) for concussion was 1.1 per 1000 ice hockey player-games for all IIHF WC tournaments. The injury rate was highest in men’s WC A-pool tournaments and OWG (IR 1.6) and lowest in women’s WC and OWG (IR 0.9). However, the annual injury rate for concussion in men’s tournament has been lower than that in World Junior tournaments since 2012. When a concussion occurred with contact on a flexible board the IR was 0.2 per 1,000 player games while the number was 1.1 if the board and glass were traditional [RR for the latter: 6.4 (95% CI 1.50 – 27.61]. In men’s tournaments, the trend of concussions caused by illegal hits decreased over the study period. After the 2012 Zurich Consensus Guidelines none of the concussed players in men’s WC returned to play during the same day.

Conclusions The risk of concussion was significantly lower if games were played on rinks with flexible board and glass. Between 2006 and 2015, the annual risk of concussion in men’s WC has been decreasing because of the decreasing number of concussions caused by illegal hits.

Competing interests None

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