American Medical Society for Sports Medicine
For Immediate Release May 15, 2007

OVERLAND PARK, KANSAS:  Field hockey is a popular sport for both women and men in many countries around the world. It is a very fast-paced sport with many opportunities for significant contact with another player, a very sturdy stick, or a hard ball, and, with very little protective equipment worn by the players aside from the goalie. In the early 1970s artificial turf fields began to be used in competition. The introduction of synthetic pitches, instead of grass, has completely changed most aspects of field hockey. The game, as well as the materials used to play, has taken a definitive turn, gaining mainly in speed. With these changes comes the concern for an increase in the number and severity of injuries particularly to the head and face.

At the Annual Meeting of the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine this past month in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Dr. C. Daniel Hendrickson presented his research investigating these concerns. A prospective, survey-based study was implemented collecting data from certified athletic trainers at Big Ten Universities with women’s field hockey teams. A form was completed documenting the details of each head and facial injury, and, at season’s end, the completed surveys were returned for analysis.

Six of seven universities participated in the study. This population consisted of a total of 253 athletes with 57 incidents and 62 injuries reported. There was an incident rate (incidences/total players) of approximately 23% over two seasons. The greatest source of injuries was from contact with the ball (32) followed by contact with a stick (19) and contact with another player (6). The most common type of injury suffered was laceration requiring sutures (20) followed by contusions and hematomas (16), concussion (11), facial fractures (8), dental injuries (4), and those listed as other (3).

Dr. Hendrickson concluded that the incidence and severity of head and facial injuries in collegiate field hockey is significant noting that it is important to realize that this data only reported head and facial injuries during the regular season and did not incorporate evaluations of training and competition outside of the traditional season. It also relied on voluntary reporting by ATC’s at each institution. In addition, 65% of the injuries were less than one day’s time lost, and thus, would not be reported in the standard NCAA or Big Ten injury surveillance systems.

The American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM) was organized in 1991 by physicians who recognized the need for an organization within the field of sports medicine that approached athletes, exercising individuals and teams comprehensively with consultative and continuous care of their orthopedic, medical, nutritional and psychosocial issues. Although sports medicine concepts are often thought of in conjunction with professional and elite athletes, these concepts apply to athletes of all levels including grade school, high school, college and recreational athletes. AMSSM is comprised of over 1000 Sports Medicine Physicians whose goal is to provide a link between the rapidly expanding core of knowledge related to sports medicine and its application to patients in a clinical setting.

NOTE: For more information, please contact the AMSSM, 11639 Earnshaw, Overland Park, KS 66210, (913) 327-1415.

NOTE: For more information, please contact the AMSSM, 4000 W. 114th St., Suite 100, Leawood, KS 66211, (913) 327-1415.

© The American Medical Society for Sports Medicine
4000 W. 114th Street, Suite 100
Leawood, KS 66211
Phone: 913.327.1415

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