In today’s youth sport environment, player safety is paramount! Hockey players wear more protective equipment than any other sport. A study has shown that ice hockey injuries ranked after both basketball and soccer in emergency room visits related to sport and recreational activities. Youth hockey is a different game than the NHL. With a different set of rules in place, youth hockey places a stronger emphasis on safety, sportsmanship and friendly competition. Contact is not allowed prior to the 14U level (age 13 & 14). In high school hockey, checking is allowed but NO fighting.
A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury—or TBI—caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or by a hit to the body that causes the head and brain to move quickly back and forth. This fast movement can cause the brain to bounce around or twist in the skull, creating chemical changes in the brain and sometimes stretching and damaging the brain cells.
In rare cases, a dangerous collection of blood (hematoma) may form on the brain after a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or body and can squeeze the brain against the skull. Call 9-1-1 or take your child to the emergency department right away if, after a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or body, he or she has one or more of these danger signs:
- One pupil larger than the other.
- Drowsiness or inability to wake up.
- A headache that gets worse and does not go away.
- Slurred speech, weakness, numbness, or decreased coordination.
- Repeated vomiting or nausea, convulsions or seizures (shaking or twitching).
- Unusual behavior, increased confusion, restlessness, or agitation.
- Loss of consciousness (passed out/knocked out). Even a brief loss of consciousness should be taken seriously.
The Newport Mesa Ice Kings and the Anaheim Ducks High School Hockey League abide by the California Amateur Hockey Association (CAHA) Concussion Protocol . The purpose of the protocol is to raise awareness, educate those involved with the game about concussion safety and make sure our youth hockey players are safe and healthy.
As called for by the CAHA Protocol, a youth athlete who is suspected of sustaining a concussion or head injury in an athletic activity is immediately removed from the activity for the remainder of the day, and;
- Shall not be permitted to return to the activity until he/she is evaluated by a licensed health care provider, and receives written clearance to return to athletic activity from a licensed health care provider.
- If the licensed healthcare provider determines that the athlete sustained a concussion or other head injury, the athlete shall also complete a graduated return-to-play protocol of no less than seven days in duration under the supervision of a licensed health care provider. The new USA Hockey concussion management program Return to Sport criteria has been added to the back of the evaluation and return to participation form.
Selection of hockey equipment is a key safety issue for players, parents and coaches in preventing injuries. When purchasing and fitting hockey equipment, remember two important safety factors: 1) make certain the player is adequately protected and 2) be sure the fitting allows freedom of movement so the player can properly perform the necessary skills. By carefully considering these two safety factors, your child will be more comfortable and will have more fun playing hockey.
Skates – Purchase skates that will fit your child today with no more than ½” allowed for growth. Seek adequate protection in the ankle, toe and instep areas, improperly fitted skates will hamper your child’s ability to skate.
Helmet – Must be of a design and construction approved by the Hockey Equipment Certification Council (HECC). Must be sized at the time of purchase to fit properly. The chin strap must always be fastened.
Facemask – Must be of a design and construction approved by the Hockey Equipment Certification Council (HECC).
Mouthpiece –A mouthpiece is required for all youth players through the Junior age classification.
Stick – Length should generally extend from the ice to the players chin with skates on. Quality and price differ greatly, so the choice is yours.
Shin Pads – Check for proper lengths so they protect the knee and skin completely.
Supporter and Cup – Essential protective safety equipment for both male and female athletes.
Gloves – Check for proper fit with good finger and hand mobility.
Shoulder Pads – Adjust to fit the individual at the time of purchase. A fiber cap is extremely important in preventing shoulder separations and should extend to the tip of the shoulder.
Pants/Breezers – Held in proper position by suspenders. Pants provide protection for the lower spine, hips and thighs.
Elbow Pads – Properly fitted so they do not slide.
A complete set of hockey equipment can be purchased for a relatively reasonable cost. Shop around for the best values and remember that you need not buy the most expensive equipment. Inquire about local equipment swaps and team discounts, but keep in mind the equipment must fit properly to provide the maximum protection.
For goaltenders, special equipment is necessary such as goalie headgear, neck guard, gloves, stick, chest and stomach protection, goalie skates (with protective shell), leg pads and shoulder and arm protectors. The goaltender’s equipment is especially important, so seek advice from a knowledgeable source, including reviewing information on the USA Hockey website.
For more information on injury prevention and management, please review our Injury Management fact sheet, prepared by USA Hockey and promoted by the Newport Mesa Ice Kings.