In the National Hockey League, it seems as though there are only two types of injuries: “upper body” and “lower body.” The league allows teams to keep the exact nature of players’ injuries vague so opposing players won’t take advantage of a specific injury. However, a player’s upper body covers a lot of territory and potential injuries. While it’s probably a good idea to keep the guys on the other team from knowing what to do about a player’s specific injury, players should know what they need to do to treat and prevent their upper body injuries.
The most common types of injuries that fall under the mysterious classification of upper body injuries can range from a sprained wrist to a concussion. Bruised ribs, broken clavicles, chipped teeth and separated shoulders are all considered upper body injuries in hockey. Predictably, players who experience a lot of contact on the ice are more likely to have an injury that leads to lost playing time, so defensemen are at higher risk of being knocked out of the game than forwards.
The key to preventing most typical upper body injuries is simple common sense — be prepared. Wearing gear that fits correctly is one of the most important ways that players can prevent injuries. This means having properly fitted mouth guards to prevent chipped teeth and concussions; always wearing a helmet to absorb head trauma; and always wearing proper padding on shoulders, the abdomen and the wrists.
To avoid injury, players need to stay in good physical shape and always use good form and technique on the ice. A fitness regimen that includes core training will help prevent abdominal injuries, for example. Knowing how to deliver and receive a body check can lower the chances of becoming concussed, as well.
Upper body injury tells you just enough to know that a player is injured somewhere above the belt, but that could mean almost anything. So you can prevent falling into that ambiguous category the next time you hit the ice, check out the guide below for more information about the treatment and prevention of upper body injuries.
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