Correct Chek is committed to educating players and coaches with specific ice hockey information designed and presented to eliminate the risk of spinal cord injuries in the sport of ice hockey.
All members of the hockey community should view the videotape USmart Hockey with Mike Bossey” every year before the hockey season.
Decreasing injuries-the specifics
a) Coaching techniques
b) Protective equipment
c) Rule changes
d) Awareness program
How frequent is this injury?
Spinal cord injury is a very rare type of injury in ice hockey. USA Hockey started a registry of these injuries in October 1995. There have been ten play ers in the United States who have sustained quadriplegic injuries since 1988, or less than two injuries per year. The age range is16 to 40, with half the injuries occurring in the 16 to 20 age group and the other half in the 30 to 40 age group. American foot ball has recorded an average of eleven quadriplegic injuries per year from 1977 to 1984, and eight injuries per year from 1985 to 1994. Canada has experienced an average of four quadriplegic injuries per year from 1982 ‘to 1992.
WHAT INJURY IS IMPORTANT? EVERY INJURY!
Correct Chek Priority List
• Head up, absorb impact with cage STRUCTURE-FUNCTION-PERFORMANCE
Ice hockey is a contact sport that has been described as the fastest contact sport in the world, played on a slippery surface, with players moving about on sharp pieces of steel, carrying long sticks and moving a small disk of rubber. Like football, ice hockey is a contact sport, and contact does occur… between players, puck, stick, goal posts, boards, and the ice surface. We at Correct Chec believe that severe injuries should not occur in the game of ice hockey.
Neck injuries occur mostly when a player’s head makes contact with the boards, goal post, or with another player, and the neck is bent slightly fonNard from its normal position. This bend (flexion) results in the neck bones (vertebrae) being lined up in a straight line (military position), allowing the squeez-ing (compressive) force to be spread out along the neck (cervical) bones (vertebrae). This force is called axial compression, and can result in the breaking (fracture) of one of the cervical bones or subluxation (misalignment of the joints in the neck) of the joints in the spine. When the bone breaks or subluxates, it causes com-pression on the spinal cord or nerve roots, resulting in paralysis (loss of movement) or abnormal function in the muscles, tissues, or organs, The player’s injury can occur at full or walking speed on the ice. The player is most vulnerable to neck injury when the neck is bent forward (flexed).
Structure Reflects Function—Help Decrease Spinal Cord Injury
What have we done? What can we do?
KEEP IT SIMPLE:
2. PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT
A) Neck collars
B) 1 Mouth guards
4) FOLLOW-UP EDUCATIONAL PROGRAM
The most effective method of eliminating cervical spinal injuries is to first educate the players cin posi-tioning their impact with boards or goal posts with any other body parts besides the head. The impact “Correct Chek Chek-list” is as follows:
1. The stick should be put up to absorb the impact
2. The arms should be raised to absorb the impact
3. The shoulders should be presented to absorb the impact
4. The head is up to absorb collision, using face mask for impact. (Studies show ten times more tensile strength with curves in spine.)
NOTE: At impact, arms or legs should be relaxed vs. stiff to prevent further injury.
Checking from behind has been responsible for almost a third of these injuries according to a Canadian study, Coaches should emphasize to their players the danger of severe injury when a player checks another player from behind.
Body checking is part of the game of ice hockey, along with skating, shooting, passing, and puck han-dling, Checking and positioning are synonymous; one has to be over the center of gravity, the pelvis. The purpose of checking is to separate the player fronri the puck, NOT to separate the player from consciousness!
Coaches should emphasize neck strengthening and flexibility exercises. These exercises are provided by “Correct Chek-Safe Neck,” and “Correct Chek-Safe Spinal Twist.”
2. Protective Equipment
The purpose of the equipment is to prevent spinal cord injury and not to be used as a weapon for the sport. The players need to understand this point and know they can get injured even with a helmet. Neck laceration protectors also guard against cuts and lacerations of the skin caused by skate blades,
3. Playing Rule Changes
1. Pre-game inspection for all mouth guards
2. Pre-game inspection for all neck guards
3. Mandatory—all helmets worn are certified hockey helmets
4. Checking from behind—major penalty and game misconduct
4. Awareness Program
Players, parents, coaches, referees, and administra-tors must be aware that catastrophic cervical spine injuries can occur due to the collision of the players with boards, other players, the ice or the goal posts.