Concussion Burden, Recovery and Risk Factors in Elite Youth Ice Hockey Players

Kathryn Schneider, Alberto Nextel-Aguirre, Luz Palacios-Derflingher, Martin Mrazik, Brian Brooks, Kaikanani Woollings, Tracy Blake, Carly McKay, Constance Lebrun, Karen Barlow, Kirsten Taylor, Nicole Lemke, Willem Meeuwisse, Carolyn Emery

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Objective: To examine rates of concussion and more severe concussion (time loss of greater than 10 days) in elite 13- to 17-year-old ice hockey players.
Methods: This is a prospective cohort study (Alberta, Canada). Bantam (13-14 years) and Midget (15-17 years) male and female elite (top 20% by division of play) youth ice hockey players participated in this study. Players completed a demographic and medical history questionnaire and clinical test battery at the beginning of the season. A previously validated injury surveillance system was used to document exposure hours and injury during one season of play (8 months). Players with a suspected ice hockey–related concussion were referred to the study sport medicine physicians for assessment. Time loss from hockey participation was documented on an injury report form.

Results: Overall, 778 elite youth ice hockey players (659 males and 119 females; aged 13-17 years) participated in this study. In total, 143 concussions were reported. The concussion incidence rate (IR) was 17.60 concussions/100 players (95% CI, 15.09-20.44). The concussion IR was 1.31 concussions/1000 player-hours (95% CI, 1.09-1.57). Time loss of greater than 10 days was reported in 74% of cases (106/143), and 20% (n = 28) had time loss of greater than 30 days.

Conclusions: Concussion is a common injury in elite youth ice hockey players. In this study population, a large proportion of concussions (74%) resulted in a time loss of greater than 10 days, possibly reflecting more conservative management or longer recovery in youth athletes.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages8
JournalClinical Journal of Sport Medicine
Early online date8 Oct 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 8 Oct 2018

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Schneider, K., Nextel-Aguirre, A., Palacios-Derflingher, L., Mrazik, M., Brooks, B., Woollings, K., Blake, T., McKay, C., Lebrun, C., Barlow, K., Taylor, K., Lemke, N., Meeuwisse, W., & Emery, C. (2018). Concussion Burden, Recovery and Risk Factors in Elite Youth Ice Hockey Players. Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine.