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Frequent knee injuries

Frequent knee injuries

Sports physiotherapist

There’s no doubt that skating is an art that field hockey players must perfect throughout their careers if they hope to reach the top. To do so, he must stay healthy and avoid injury. The knee is the second most frequently injured body part in the NCAA(1) and the third in the NHL(2). One of the most common knee injuries suffered by field hockey players is a sprain of the tibial collateral ligament (also known as the medial collateral ligament), located on the medial side of the knee(3). To prevent this injury, we must first understand why it is so common in field hockey. The main thing that catches our attention is that physical contact is allowed and encouraged.

In fact, contact with an opponent is the most frequent mechanism of injury according to a study carried out over a 7-year period with an NCAA Division 1 team. In this study, 77% of tibial collateral ligament injuries were the result of contact with another player(4). What’s more, a study by Roach (2014) also shows that practitioners of contact sports are at greater risk(3). In other words, to avoid such an injury in field hockey, you should try to be alert to dodge contact, but above all be prepared to receive it.

All in all, even if contact is unavoidable, certain strategies can be used to prevent it. Given the unpredictable nature of the sport, players should focus their energies on optimal physical preparation that enables the body to withstand physical contact. According to Grant (2013), a comprehensive program including hockey-specific aerobic and anaerobic training and neuromuscular strengthening and control exercises is in order(4). In short, preventing tibial collateral ligament injuries is part of the general physical preparation of field hockey players.

Written by Maxime Provencher, M. Physiotherapy

1. Rishiraj N & coll. University men’s ice hockey: rates and risk of injuries over 6-years. J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2009 Jun;49(2):159-66.
2. McKay CD, Tufts RJ, Shaffer B, & coll. The epidemiology of professional ice hockey injuries:a prospective report of six NHL seasons Br J Sports Med 2014;48: 57-62.
3. Roach CJ & coll. The epidemiology of medial collateral ligament sprains in young athletes. Am J Sports Med. 2014 May;42(5):1103-9.
4. Grant JA & coll. Incidence and Injury Characteristics of Medial Collateral Ligament Injuries in Male Collegiate Ice Hockey Players. Orthopaedic Surgery. 2013 May;5(3) :270-272.

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