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044 Evaluation of body checking policy for injury prevention in non-elite adolescent ice hockey players
  1. Carolyn Emery1,2,3,4,5,6,
  2. Paul H Eliason1,2,3,
  3. Warriyar KV Vineetha1,
  4. Luz Palacios-Derflingher1,4,
  5. Amanda M Black1,2,3,
  6. Maciej Krolikowski1,
  7. Nicole Spencer1,
  8. Kathryn Schneider1,2,3,7,8,
  9. Shelina Babul9,
  10. Martin Mrazik10,
  11. Constance Lebrun11,12,
  12. Claude Goulet13,
  13. Alison K MacPherson14,
  14. Brent E Hagel1,3,4,5,6
  1. 1Sport Injury Prevention Research Centre, Faculty of Kinesiology, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada
  2. 2Hotchkiss Brain Institute, Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada
  3. 3Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute, Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada
  4. 4Community Health Sciences, Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada
  5. 5Department of Pediatrics, Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada
  6. 6O’Brien Institute for Public Health, Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada
  7. 7Sport Medicine Centre Acute Sport Concussion Clinic, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada
  8. 8Evidence Sport and Spinal Therapy, Calgary, Canada
  9. 9British Columbia Injury Research and Prevention Unit, Department of Pediatrics, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada
  10. 10Faculty of Education, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada
  11. 11Department of Family Medicine, Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada
  12. 12Glen Sather Sports Medicine Clinic, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada
  13. 13Department of Physical Education, Faculty of Education, Université Laval, Quebec City, Canada
  14. 14Faculty of Health, York University, Toront, Canada


Background Body checking is associated with an increased risk of injury and concussion in Pee Wee (ages 11–12) and non-elite (lower 70% by division of play) Bantam (ages 13–14) ice hockey players. This research informed local and provincial policy changes disallowing body checking in non-elite Midget (ages 15–17).

Objective To evaluate the rate ratios of game-related injury and concussion in non-elite Midget players following policy change disallowing body checking in games compared with similar leagues still allowing body checking.

Design Prospective cohort.

Setting Community ice hockey rinks.

Participants Non-elite Midget ice hockey players from 44 teams (453 player-records) where policy disallowed body checking in the lower 70% of divisions of play, and 52 teams (674 player-records) from similar divisions where policy allowed body checking; 120 players participated in more than one season.

Assessment of Risk Factors Exposure to policy that permits body checking (Edmonton 2015–17 and Calgary 2015–18) vs. policy disallowing body checking (Vancouver 2015–16, Edmonton 2016–17, and Calgary 2016–18).

Main Outcome Measurements All game-related ice hockey-related injuries were identified by a team safety designate. Suspected concussions were referred to a study sport medicine physician.

Results In divisions allowing body checking, there were 213 injuries [incidence rate (IR)= 12.96/1000 player-hours; 95% CI: 9.21–16.70] including 69 concussions (IR= 4.20/1000 player-hours; 95% CI: 2.63–5.76). In divisions disallowing body checking, there were 40 injuries (IR=5.13/1000 player-hours; 95% CI: 1.71–8.56) including 18 concussions (IR= 2.31/1000 player-hours; 95% CI: 0.62–4.00). Using multilevel Poisson regression adjusted for cluster and several important covariates (year of play, player weight, previous injury/concussion history, position), policy disallowing body checking was associated with a lower rate of all injury [incidence rate ratio [IRR]=0.38; 95% CI: 0.24–0.60), and concussion (RR=0.49; 95% CI: 0.26–0.89).

Conclusions Policy disallowing body checking reduced the rate of game-related injuries in Midget non-elite levels of ice hockey. This research should inform body checking policy change nationally.

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