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Illegal 'Body Checking' in Ice Hockey Can Cause Serious Injuries

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"It's especially important to penalize body checks from behind, which are linked to neck fractures," says Roberts. "Another approach is to simply ban checking altogether, as is done with girls. The girls have far fewer injuries and are still exciting to watch because they focus on puck handling and skating."

In a more recent study, injury was reduced fivefold during portions of a junior tournament when teams were rewarded for good behavior with extra points in the standings. The support of parents and coaches is critical to help reduce rough play. "They need to reassure kids that their skills won't be limited, but their injuries will," Roberts tells WebMD. "And the few that do reach professional status will learn the art of the body check in short order."

Vital Information:

  • Nearly 90% of all injuries during amateur ice hockey games are caused by reckless or illegal collisions between opponents.
  • Many experts recommend that ice hockey rules be more strictly enforced or that "body checking" be banned altogether from amateur play.
  • Equipment does not always protect players from injuries, which commonly include cervical spine injuries and concussions.
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