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16 Wed

Staying Injury-Free on the Pond

Staying Injury-Free on the Pond

Written by: Karen Tom, MPT, CSCS

As the weather cools off in New Jersey, it’s almost time to lace up the skates and head out to the pond to play some hockey!  In planning ahead (while we wait for the freeze), there are a few things to keep in mind to avoid injury: equipment, physical training and common sense!

Equipment for hockey varies. Most people don’t wear full equipment to play pond hockey, but it is recommended, especially for the kids. EVERYONE (including Dad) should wear a helmet to avoid head injuries and concussions.  Face protection (in the form of a full shield) is important.  A lot of the injuries that occur on the pond are facial lacerations from sticks and sometimes even the puck or a skate.  Protective hockey gloves should be worn to prevent hand lacerations, bruising and fractures.  Just landing on an outstretched arm without a glove could result in a wrist or hand fracture.  Elbow pads are recommended to prevent bruising and fractures from falls. Knee and shin guards are recommended to prevent bruising and fractures due to falls and errant sticks. Well fitting hockey skates should be worn in order to prevent blisters and sore feet.

After assembling all of your equipment, keep in mind that you do have to be in decent cardiovascular shape to play hockey. Pond hockey shouldn’t be your first exercise of the New Year. Make sure you’ve been exercising regularly before playing hockey. Some types of exercises that can help are: running with intervals, biking with intervals, skating with intervals, plyometrics, agility drills and weightlifting.

Keeping all of the above in mind, also use your common sense out on the ice.  If the play seems too fast for your abilities, then wait until other players at your level are there to play. If you’re tired, rest!  Remember to hydrate and keep warm. Above all, enjoy the outdoors and HAVE FUN!

If you’d like more information on exercise programs that can help you to prepare for hockey or to improve your hockey prowess, contact our office at 973-270-7417.

Our offices are conveniently located in the Madison & Summit Area YMCAs in New Jersey.  This makes it easy for our physical therapists to create an exercise plan for our patients and to instruct them correctly using the YMCA equipment.  You do not need a YMCA membership to visit us.

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