In the previous post I introduced Part I of this article which talked about when injuries happen in the game of hockey. Sometimes there are contact injuries but we were more focused on the non-contact type of injuries that happen. This is because we hope to be able to prevent as many of the non-contact injuries as possible.

When a player is about to return to play there are few questions he/she can ask themselves to determine their readiness to play. These include:

How close to 100% does the injured area feel? When at rest? When skating? During practice? During a game?

And in terms of determining 100% there are both subjective and objective measurements. How an area of the body feels would be a subjective evaluation. Equally important however would be the objective evaluations. The would include range of motion, strength, power, endurance and bilateral comparisons.

But how do you compare your injury in these areas? You would look back to the data collected during your last assessment where you may have performed some flexibility, strength, power and other tests. If you knew you had 40 degrees of internal rotation on your right leg and were now measuring 36 degrees you would realize you are 90% of the way there.

Or perhaps during your hockey training you noticed you could handle 225 lbs for a single leg squat but now are at 215 lbs this would put you at over 95% of your previous score.

But what about if you don’t have any data from your last assessment to refer to?  Well in this case you might compare the left and ride sides of the body. For example, for a lower body injury (this is what we call in the NHL, right?) you might take some measures of leg circumference. You could check what load the injured side could handle on a single leg test compared to the non-injured side. And you could also measure single leg hops to determine the ability to generate power on either side.

With the data from all these assessments, previous or comparative, you will have enough to determine what percentage the injured side is compared to the non-injured. And this percentage would be objective based on true testing rather than subjective and based on emotion.

So what do you do when the injured side is scoring as well, and maybe better, than the non-injured side? First of all, you would want a rehab specialist to sign-off on the injury allowing for a full return to play. And if this has happened it may be necessary to look at some mental strategies.

The hockey player may have to wear a brace for a little while. They mayhave to think to previous times they’re been injured and come back successfully. And in practice they may have to initiate some contact on their own to test out the injury in a controlled environment. I call it a controlled environment because it will be less than 100% contact and their teammate will not retaliate if they end up taking a hit. Gradually with enough progressive contact in controlled scrimmages the hockey player will develop the confidence to return to 100%.


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