A Summary of Central Nervous System Injuries Associated with the Sport of Ice Hockey (pp. 51-62)
Authors: (Ozan Toy, Arielle Berkowitz, Ronald Bogdasarian, Mill Etienne, The Commonwealth Medical College, Scranton, PA, US, and others)
Abstract: Objective: To determine the types of injuries affecting the Central
Nervous System (CNS) throughout the history of ice hockey and the
estimated incidence of each type of CNS injury based on the literature.
Background: Ice hockey is a contact sport characterized by high
acceleration and deceleration forces, fast skating and puck velocities,
body checking and forceful stick use. Athletes can receive impacts from
opposing players, the boards, pucks, sticks, and goal posts. These aspects
of ice hockey pose risks for injury to the brain and spinal cord.
Identifying CNS injuries and associated incidence in ice hockey will help
clinicians to better inform participating athletes.
Methods: We conducted a literature search via Pubmed.
Additionally, we utilized Google and Wikipedia to find media reports
regarding CNS injuries in ice hockey. We used the following search
terms: hockey concussion, hockey second impact syndrome, hockey
spinal cord injury, hockey paralysis, hockey head trauma, hockey death.
Results & Conclusion: The following CNS injuries were the most
common: Concussion (0.2 to 6.6 per 1000 player hours) and Spinal Cord
Injury (5 per 1000 player hours). Other rare injuries of undetermined
incidence include: Second Impact Syndrome, Subarachnoid Hemorrhage,
Subdural Hematoma, Epidural Hematoma, Spinal Cord Concussion, and
Vertebral Hemorrhage. Controversial associations with long term
consequences of head impact in ice hockey include Post-Concussive
Syndrome and Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). It is our
recommendation that all ice hockey players, their parents, and healthcare
professionals are informed of the risks of the game.