Field Hockey is played by women of various ages, from children to high school and collegiate athletes and even professional league players. Field Hockey injuries can be either acute (occur suddenly) or from overuse and repetitive strain.
Field Hockey players are typically prone to injuries that affect the hand, wrist, face, ankle, and knee. One of the most common acute injuries is a concussion, which can occur from contact with the ball, stick, or other players. Fractures are also a common acute injury. Overuse injuries tend to affect the lower extremity (foot, ankle, knee) and include sprains and strains.
- Hand and wrist injuries
- Due to the low placement of the hand on the stick, the right hand in particular is at risk of an acute contact injury from being struck by an opponents stick.
- Fractures of the hands, especially the fingers, are common.
- Facial injuries
- The player can be struck by the stick or ball.
- Facial injuries tend to be minor cuts and abrasions
- These injuries can be severe, resulting in facial fractures, eye injuries, and broken teeth.
- All of these injuries require consultation with a sports health professional.
- Ankle injuries
- Inversion ankle sprains are the most common sports related injury
- Ankle injuries comprise 15% of all field hockey injuries
- Knee injuries
- Common knee injuries include anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and medial collateral ligament (MCL) injuries from deceleration while cutting or stopping, and from being struck in the knee.
- Muscle strains of the thigh include the quadriceps and hamstrings muscle groups.
- Up to 7% of all Field Hockey injuries are concussions.
- Dizziness and confusion are the most common symptoms of concussion.
- When a concussion is suspected a sports health professional should be consulted.
- Overuse injuries
- Occur from repetitive activity.
- Common sites of overuse injuries in Field Hockey are the back, knee, ankle, leg, and foot
There are intrinsic and extrinsic risk factors for injury. Intrinsic factors are a child’s individual musculoskeletal issues, which can include skeletal immaturity (bones and joints that are still developing) or muscle weakness. Extrinsic factors are the environment in which an athlete performs, which can include the level of competition: how much, how hard and how long play lasts.
Other common risk factors for Field Hockey injuries include:
- Field Hockey is a rapidly growing sport. Currently over 5,000 females compete at the collegiate level each year. The growing number of participants results in a growing number of injuries.
- Field Hockey is classified a non-contact sport. However, many acute injuries in Field Hockey result in contact with a stick, ball, another player, the playing surface, or the goal cage.
Prevention and Performance
The best way to avoid Field Hockey injuries to is learn the proper technique, while wearing any necessary protective gear (goggles or gloves). Players should always be aware, and should not play while fatigued or dehydrated when concentration may be interrupted.
Other ways to avoid injury include:
- Wear appropriate protective gear.
- Avoid overuse by gradually increasing the frequency, intensity, and duration of training
- Include regular aerobic, strength, flexibility, and skills training.
- Avoid excessive weather conditions of heat, humidity, rain, cold, and more.
- Get plenty of rest to help decrease the risk of overuse injuries.
- Take at least one season per year off from field hockey.
- Do not attempt to “play through the pain”, instead seek out the assistance of a sports health professional.
- Preseason sports performance training can decrease the risk of injury while increasing the performance level of the athlete.
- Did you know that field hockey is one of the oldest sports in existence? There is evidence of the sport being played 4,000 years ago in Egypt.
- Did you know the modern form of field hockey was developed in England during the 19th Century? Field Hockey then came to the United States in 1901.
- Ankle sprains
- Knee sprains
- Stress fractures
- Hand fractures
- Finger fractures
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