Online Program

Injury surveillance of head, neck and facial injuries in collegiate ice hockey players, 2009-2014

Monday, November 2, 2015 : 1:15 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.

Molly Simmons, BA, Department of Health Policy and Management, Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD
David Swedler, PhD, MPH, Environmental and Occupational Health Scienecs, University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health, Chicago, IL
Zachary Kerr, PhD, MPH, Datalys Center for Sports Injury Research and Prevention, Inc, Indianapolis, IN
Background: Ice hockey is a high-speed, contact sport with a high risk of head/face/neck injuries. No large-scale studies describing characteristics of head/face/neck injuries sustained while playing collegiate ice hockey in the United States were found. This study fills that gap and compares rates of head/face/neck injuries between men and women. Differences between men and women’s ice hockey are particularly significant because only men’s hockey permits checking.  We compare head/face/neck injury rates between men and women overall, by diagnosis, and by injury activity.

Methods: Ice Hockey data from the National Collegiate Athletic Association Injury Surveillance Program (NCAA-ISP) during the 2009/10-2013/14 academic years were analyzed.  Fifty-seven men’s and 26 women’s programs provided 106 and 51 team-seasons of data, respectively.  Injury rates per 1000 athlete-exposures (AE) and rate ratios (RR) were reported.

Results: The NCAA-ISP reported 496 and 131 head/face/neck injuries in men’s and women’s ice hockey, respectively.  The head/face/neck injury rate was higher in men (RR=1.51; 95%CI:1.25-1.84), particularly when restricted to injuries due to checking (RR=5.08; 95%CI:2.89-8.93).  Concussion rates did not differ by between men and women (RR=1.05; 95%CI: 0.82-1.35); however, there was a significant increase for men vs. women when we restricted our analysis to checking-related concussions (RR=2.60; 95%CI:1.34-5.06).  While 166 lacerations were reported in men, no lacerations were reported in women. Checking was the most common cause of lacerations in men.

Conclusion: Checking contributes to higher rates of head/face/neck injuries in male collegiate hockey players, particularly concussions and lacerations.  Safety initiatives and prevention programming should aim to reduce checking-related injuries.

Learning Areas:

Other professions or practice related to public health

Learning Objectives:
Describe types of head/neck/face injuries incurred by collegiate ice hockey players in academic years 2009/2010-2013/2014. Describe situations and mechanisms that led to head/neck/face injuries in collegiate ice hockey players in academic years 2009/2010-2013/2014. Compare head/neck/face injuries in men vs. women and practice vs. play. Evaluate the role that checking may play in type and severity of head/neck/face injuries.

Keyword(s): Epidemiology

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a member of the ICEHS Sports and Recreation section. I have published on other issues of sports injury surveillance and this will be my second APHA presentation on injuries to college athletes.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.