700 Children's® – A Blog by Pediatric Experts

Hockey Injuries: Know the Risks

Feb 08, 2022
hockey player

Hockey season is in full swing and the excitement for end of the season tournaments is just around the corner. Since hockey is a high speed, collision sport, there can be opportunities for injury. For players, parents, and coaches alike, it is important to be aware of the most common injuries that can happen on the ice.

Separated Shoulder

While playing hockey it is common to make physical contact with other players through a check, either giving or receiving. There is also the chance that you may trip and fall on the ice. These things put the shoulder at risk of being injured. One common injury is a separated shoulder, which is basically a sprained shoulder. Treatment for this will depend on the severity of the sprain, but typically involves immobilization and rest. When recovering from this injury there are some strengthening exercises that can be beneficial. Making sure shoulder pads are properly fit for your player can help reduce the risk.


Concussions are also a common injury due to the fast-paced nature of the game and the potential for contact from another player. If a player has an impact to the head and as a result begins to have symptoms of a concussion they should not continue to play. There are many possible symptoms of a concussion, including headache, dizziness, confusion, and nausea. Making sure the player has a helmet that fits well in addition to wearing a mouthpiece can help reduce some of the impact but will not completely eliminate the risk of concussions. Players who have symptoms should consult a physician before returning to play and use a gradual return to contact.

Knee Sprain

Knee injuries are also common when playing hockey. Contact with another player at a high speed, twisting the body or legs, can cause a sprain of the knee ligaments as well. Depending on the severity of the sprain the player may not be able to bear weight on their injured knee. Rest and ice can be helpful with this type of injury. Upon return there are also strengthening exercises that can be beneficial to help the return to play.

Groin/Hamstring Pull 

Muscle strains, specifically the groin and hamstring muscles, are also a common injury to the hockey player. These can occur with the sudden change of direction that happens with the skating movements during a hockey game or practice. There are a lot of quick starts and stops that can cause a muscle injury. Treatment for these is typically rest and ice. Some ways to help prevent a muscle injury is to have a good warm-up with dynamic stretching. 

Hockey is a great sport and a lot of fun to play for many athletes, so it is important to stay safe while on the ice! 

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Nationwide Children's Hospital Medical Professional
Ryan Ingley AT, ATC
Sports Medicine

Ryan Ingley, AT, ATC, has been an athletic trainer for 13 years, working at Nationwide Children’s for seven years. He currently works in the Functional Rehabilitation and Play Strong departments of Sports Medicine. He started playing hockey at the age of eight playing at the travel, junior and college levels.

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700 Children’s® features the most current pediatric health care information and research from our pediatric experts – physicians and specialists who have seen it all. Many of them are parents and bring a special understanding to what our patients and families experience. If you have a child – or care for a child – 700 Children’s was created especially for you.