How Many Hockey Injuries Happen Each Year? [Fact Checked!]

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Hockey is one of the most popular sports in the world, played by people of all ages and skill levels. But what is the actual risk of getting injured while playing hockey? How many hockey injuries occur each year, and how serious are they? Let’s take a quick look at the stats and trends to get an idea of how dangerous this popular sport actually is.

The Numbers

There is considerable uncertainty when it comes to estimating how many injuries occur in hockey each year. One of the reasons is attributed to the fact that not all injuries are reported, making up a significant proportion of cases. Reports from the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicate that only half of all injuries that happen in a sports setting are actually registered and this is certainly the case for hockey. In fact, there is a wide variation in the number of injuries that are registered across different countries. For example, in Sweden, which is one of the most safety-conscious countries when it comes to playing hockey, only 26 out of 10,000 registered injuries were reported as compared to the United States, where 3667 out of 7.62 million were registered. These figures make it seem like Canada is somewhere in the middle, with an injury rate that is roughly in-line with the national average.

The most recent data available from the Global Sports Injury Registry goes back only as far as 2010. Thus, comparisons to previous seasons or estimates for the total number of injuries that occur in hockey each year are meaningless in this case. However, what is notable is that the registry was established in 2010 and the participation rate increased from 1.67 million in 2008 to 7.62 million in 2012, nearly doubling the number of reported injuries from 5.6 million in 2008 to 10.5 million in 2012. If the trend continues and more people get involved, then it is reasonable to assume that more injuries will be registered and the number may even reach 12 million.

The Injury Trends

The most recent data on hockey injuries are mostly limited to cases reported to the CDC or cases appearing in the media. This means that we do not really know what is the overall trend when it comes to the incidence of hockey injuries. That being said, there have been some noteworthy changes in the last few years and it is reasonable to assume that these will continue. While many factors contribute to an increased injury rate, here are a few that stand out:

  • Growing popularity – As more and more people get involved in the sport, it becomes more and more popular and this means more potential for injuries. The overall trend, as mentioned before, is definitely in the direction of more injuries. There are many factors that contribute to this but growing participation in a safe sport, such as hockey, is a good thing.
  • Growing Competitive Demand – All sports are more prominent now than they have ever been before. This is due, in part, to the fact that people are living longer and there is more of an emphasis on looking fit and healthy. As a result, people are participating in sports, especially those that are easy to follow and are more enjoyable than, say, running or swimming. Growing popularity in any sport usually means more people will be looking to compete and improved health is a key component to this. People want to be able to play at the highest level possible and, for that reason, are willing to put in the work to make sure they are prepared for whatever challenges may come their way.
  • Rising Number of People – Another trend that is likely to continue is the increasing number of people who are participating in the sport. While we have seen this in other sports, such as American football and cricket, hockey is a relatively new sport to reach the mainstream and a lot of people have gotten involved in the last few years.
  • Increased Awareness – Finally, it is important to remember that more people are becoming more aware of the risks associated with different sports and activities. This is certainly the case for hockey as, thanks to initiatives like Hockey Fights Cancer and the Hockey Is For Everyone campaign, more and more children and adults are learning about the risks associated with the sport. It is a great thing that more people are aware of the dangers associated with hockey because this means more people will avoid these risks and injuries and will continue enjoying the game.

Possible Solutions

It is not just about the number of injuries that occur in hockey each year; there are also some solutions that can be implemented to make the game safer. Some of these solutions are already utilized while others can be implemented by the hockey community, athletic associations, and even the government. Here are a few solutions that can be implemented to reduce injuries in hockey.

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