Bodychecking experience and rates of injury among ice hockey players aged 15–17 years
CMAJ. Canadian Medical Association Journal
Background: Although high rates of injury occur in youth ice hockey, disagreements exist about the risks and benefits of permitting bodychecking. We sought to evaluate associations between experience with bodychecking and rates of injury and concussion among ice hockey players aged 15–17 years. Methods: We obtained data from a prospective cohort study of ice hockey players aged 15–17 years in Alberta who played in leagues that permitted bodychecking. We collected data over 3 seasons of play (2015/16–2017/18). We compared players based on experience with bodychecking (≤ 2 v. ≥ 3 yr), estimated using local and national bodychecking policy and region of play. We used validated methodology of ice hockey injury surveillance to identify all injuries related to ice hockey games and defined concussions according to the Consensus Statement on Concussion in Sport. Results: We included 941 players who contributed to 1168 player-seasons, with 205 players participating in more than 1 season. Compared with players with 2 years or less of bodychecking experience, those with 3 or more years of experience had higher rates of all injury (adjusted incidence rate ratio [IRR] 2.55, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.57–4.14), injury with more than 7 days of time loss (adjusted IRR 2.65, 95% CI 1.50–4.68) and concussion (adjusted IRR 2.69, 95% CI 1.34–5.42). Interpretation: Among ice hockey players aged 15–17 years who participated in leagues permitting bodychecking, more experience with bodychecking did not protect against injury. This provides further support for removing bodychecking from youth ice hockey.
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