Ice Skating Health & Injuries

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Protective Equipment for
Young Athletes in Ice Sports

 
     Beginners should always take lessons to learn the correct skating techniques. Some rink owners/ managers have established policies requiring protective helmets for skaters enrolling in beginning group classes.

     The muscle strength and balance that are needed to participate safely in recreational skating requires following a workout routine that includes core body exercise, proprioception training, and thigh and calf strengthening, starting with a schedule of three to four days a week and expanding to five to six days a week for competitive skaters in hockey, speed, and figure skating.

Ice Hockey
Helmets are considered essential to protect hockey players from head injuries, specially concussions. Gloves and padding for hips, shoulders, knees, and elbows also provide protection for other body parts. Custom fitted mouth guards and groin protection are extremely important too.  Note: A heavily padded, boxer-style cup is better than the traditional small plastic cup for boys.  Girls should also wear especially designed equipment to protect their reproductive organs.

Prevention of Ice Hockey Injuries is very important as the participation of girls and women grows every year. The need for protection was documented by a recent study funded by USA Hockey.

Shock Doc Womens Comp Protective Pant

Also refer to:
Speed Skating  
The ISU has approved short track speed skating helmet that provides protection against impact and protection against skates entering through gaps in the helmet.

Protective headgear must be worn by all speed skating participants.  For younger skaters in Novice or Development, a hockey helmet, roller blading helmet, or bike helmet can be used.  For skaters in the Competitive program, specifically designed speed skating helmets meeting the ASTM standard must be used.  SSC and ISU rules state that these helmets must be worn in all SSC or ISU sanctioned meets.

All About Speed skating Equipment
  • Helmet
  • Eye Protection
  • Knee Pads
  • Shin Pads
  • Cut Resistant Gloves
  • Bib Style Neck Guard
  • Elbow Pads
  • Clothing -  In the Competitive program, skaters generally wear some form of lycra or spandex skin suit and a long sleeved t-shirt in practices.  Full skin suits are worn in competition.
  • Skates - For  the Novice program and the first level Development program, hockey skates are acceptable.  As skaters move up in the program, they must move to long blades or they will fall behind the other skaters and not be able to participate fully.
Figure Skating
There seems to be a prevailing feeling among skaters that helmets would not prevent head injuries in figure skating and their weight would make it more difficult to acquire advanced multi-revolution jumps and advanced spin positions.

Many skaters do rely on various devices to provide protection for knee, elbows, hips, and tail bones.
Skating Safe gel pads. These protective ice skating gel pads are designed to protect you without the lumpy, bumpy, uncomfortable feeling of ordinary crash pads. You can find gel pads for your ankles, knees, hips, spine and elbows.

The Ice Halo web site claims that their protective head band can reduce an impact force by 250G. Reducing the impact could be a very real benefit to wearing one of these with out wearing a bulky helmet that can be expected affect balance in spins and especially in jumps.

Figure Skating and Recreational Ice Skating Helmets
Children who ice skate and skateboard can be seriously injured doing both sports; however, relative fewer children on ice skates wearing protective head gear.

Shopwiki.com feature knee, elbow, wrist pads.  Skate boarders and Inline skaters tend to wear much more protective gear than recreational ice skaters and competitive figure skaters.

References:

Individual Differences and Sport Performance
    Many factors contribute to an athlete's performance. In the fields of psychology and motor behavior, individual differences are stable, enduring qualities that contribute to sport success.

Helmets for Ice Skating Kids
   The July issue of the journal Pediatrics, the proportion of head injuries among ice skaters is greater than for other types of skating for which helmet use is recommended and often required. Children who are going ice skating should therefore wear a helmet.

Resources:

The following internet links have been gleaned from personal communications
combined with information from public institutions and athletic organizations/
associations that have a web presence with information concerning team and
individual sports programs:

Sports Health and Injury Issues
PDF  Sports Medicine Links
Prevention of Athletic Injuries
Identifying & Treating Sports Injuries
Preventing & Treating Sports Injuries
Common Sports Injuries
Injury Prevention of Athletes
Protective Equipment

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