Higher Rates of Head Contacts, Body Checking, and Suspected Injuries in Ringette than Female Ice Hockey: Time to Ring in Opportunities for Prevention

Emily Hemming, Alexandra. J. Sobry, Alexis L. Cairo, Rylen, A. Williamson, Ash T. Kolstad, Stephen W. West, Claude Goulet, Kelly Russell, Carolyn A. Emery

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective:
Ringette and female ice hockey are high participation sports in Canada. Despite policies disallowing body checking, both sports have high injury and concussion rates. This study aimed to compare physical contact (PC), head contact (HC), and suspected injury and concussion incidence rates (IRs) in female varsity ringette and ice hockey.

Design:
Cross-sectional.

Setting:
Canadian ice arenas.

Participants:
Eighteen Canadian female university ringette and ice hockey tournament/playoff games in the 2018-2019/2019-2020 seasons.

Assessment of Risk Factors:
Game video-recordings were analyzed using Dartfish video-analysis software to compare both sports.

Main Outcome Measures:
Univariate Poisson regression analyses (adjusted for cluster by team, offset by game-minutes) were used to estimate PC, HC, and suspected injury IRs and incidence rate ratios (IRRs) to compare rates across sports. Proportions of body checks (level 4-5 trunk PC) and direct HC (HC1) penalized were reported.

Results:
Analyses of 36 team-games (n = 18 ringette, n = 18 hockey) revealed a 19% lower rate of PCs in ringette than ice hockey {IRR = 0.81 [95% confidence interval (CI), 0.73-0.90]}, but a 98% higher rate of body checking [IRR = 1.98 (95% CI, 1.27-3.09)] compared to ice hockey. Ringette had a 40% higher rate of all HC1s [IRR = 1.40 (95% CI, 1.00-1.96)] and a 3-fold higher rate of suspected injury [IRR = 3.11 (95% CI, 1.13-8.60)] than ice hockey. The proportion of penalized body checks and HC1s were low across sports.

Conclusions:
Body checking and HC1 rates were significantly higher in ringette compared to ice hockey, despite rules disallowing both, and very few were penalized. These findings will inform future injury prevention research in ringette and female ice hockey.
Original languageEnglish
JournalClinical Journal of Sport Medicine
Early online date21 Oct 2022
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 21 Oct 2022

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