Hockey Alberta is committed to a safe and fun environment for all participants to enjoy the game. Because of the nature of the game of hockey – the skills, the pace, and the playing area, injuries can occur from time to time. The impact of these unfortunate occurrences can be minimized by taking the proper steps to prevent, recognize, and manage injuries effectively.
Prevention starts with the right attitude, preparation (warmup and cool down), and protection (proper equipment). One of the most important things in preventing injuries is respect, and that respect starts with the example you as a parent set:
- Encourage your child to never check to the head, hit someone from behind, or attempt to injure a fellow player
- Be a positive influence by encouraging and celebrating positive behaviors like teamwork and skill development rather than negative behaviors like intimidation.
- Understand and respect the rules and reasons they are in place.
- Communicate to your child why certain rules are emphasized.
Stretching and Warmup/Cool Down
While the player may be in top form in terms of their physical conditioning, participation in vigorous sports like hockey requires a proper warm-up to help prepare the body for the increased demands and to help prevent injuries. Proper warm up includes a stretching component one the participant is “warmed up”.
The cool-down is the opposite of the warm-up. If the warm-up prepares the body for exercise, then the cool-down recovers the body following exercise. The cool-down is one of the most important features of the recovery process following exercise. In addition, proper stretching should also occur during the cool down.
Ensure that all equipment fits properly, is in good working condition, free of damage, well maintained, and is only used to protect.
Due to the nature of concussions there are many signs and symptoms that could indicate a concussion has occurred, some of which are immediate and require immediate attention while others may appear gradually over a period of time.
An important aspect of injury prevention is addressing concussions in sport and providing the information required in:
- PREVENTION: Ultimately, we want to prevent concussions from occurring. That starts with respecting the safety and well-being of everyone sharing the ice with us, and includes wearing proper equipment, and eliminating dangerous hits.
- RECOGNITION: What are the signs and symptoms of a concussion? Knowledge is key so we can observe and recognize a possible concussion, and get the person to medical attention.
- RESPONSIBLE RETURN TO PLAY: Everyone wants to get back on the ice as soon as possible. With a concussion, there is a gradual, six-step process that must be followed, which includes observing and recognizing if symptoms return.