Hockey may be the one of the most popular sports, according to The Hockey News, but it also places firmly in the top 10 most dangerous sports for kids. A chart on Nerd Wallet’s Healthy Living section shows that emergency room visits due to adolescent hockey injuries went up 14 percent in a 5 year period, and the USA Hockey Magazine reports that two out of every 100 hockey players end up in the ER due to injuries suffered on the ice. Additionally, the American Academy of Pediatrics says that body checking in hockey is related to increased risk of medical issues in adolescent players such as concussion and severe injury. Not wonderful numbers when you’re concerned about kids health.
Some may argue that football is just as dangerous as hockey among kids sports activities, and there’s no denying that football can carry risk of injury. In fact, Stanford Children’s Health reports that in 2009 approximately 215,000 kids between the ages of 5 and 14 were treated in the ER for football-related injuries compared to “only” 20,000 kids in the same age range who visited emergency rooms due to hockey-related injuries. Still, 20,000 injuries that were serious enough to warrant a trip to the ER is nothing to take lightly.
Many point to coaching children in sports such as hockey as the element that can make a difference. It’s essential that the coaches and athletes work together to maintain safety on the ice. Additionally, a good coach can teach players awareness on the ice and body control. Effective coaches make sure their teams know all the rules and run their teams through drills that enforce proper use of equipment. The best coaches also know how to instill good sportsmanship qualities in their teams and won’t push a player to play if he’s not feeling 100 percent. It’s fairly easy to control the risk factors in the younger leagues, but when the kids reach the age to play sports in schools, such as junior high and high school, the risk goes up. However, an element of control can remain in those later years if the coaches and players remain cautious and aware, keep up on education and, of course, practice, practice, practice.