American Medical Society for Sports Medicine
For Immediate Release Apr 26, 2018

Stricter Checking and Boarding Rules Led to Dramatic Reduction of High School Ice Hockey Injuries

Lauren Nadkarni, MD presented a research abstract about the possible positive effects of checking policy changes in high school hockey at the 27th Annual Meeting of the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine in Lake Buena Vista, FL.

To improve player safety, the National Federation of State High School Associations implemented stricter rules that increased the penalty for “boarding” and “checking from behind.” Using an injury database, Nadkarni and the Maine Medical Center team studied whether these rule changes were associated with reduced high school ice hockey injury rates.

“Although high school ice hockey rules change frequently, there has not been a lot of research to confirm whether rule changes improve player safety," Dr. Nadkarni said. "This study shows that these rule changes can preserve the fun of the game, while still being associated with safer play.”

Dr. Nadkarni and her Maine Medical Center team identified injury rates for the three seasons before the rule changes went into effect (2011-2014) and compared them to rates for the following two seasons (2014-2016).

The study ultimately found that the stricter penalties for “boarding” and “checking from behind” were associated with a significant decrease in injury rate, specifically due to being checked.

“Injury prevention in contact sports is a priority for sports medicine physicians," Dr. Nadkarni said. "Therefore, we are excited to learn that stricter penalties for 'boarding' and 'checking from behind' was associated with improved safety for high school ice hockey players without fundamentally changing how the game was played.”

About the AMSSM Annual Meeting: The 2018 conference brings more than 2,000 sports medicine physicians together from throughout the United States and around the world. The meeting theme is REACH: Reaching Up, Reaching Out, Reaching Ahead and explores the many ways AMSSM is leading the charge and shaping the future of sports medicine. 

About the AMSSM: AMSSM is a multi-disciplinary organization of more than 3,600 sports medicine physicians dedicated to education, research, advocacy and the care of athletes of all ages. The majority of AMSSM members are primary care physicians with fellowship training and added qualification in sports medicine who then combine their practice of sports medicine with their primary specialty. AMSSM includes members who specialize solely in non-surgical sports medicine and serve as team physicians at the youth level, NCAA, NFL, MLB, NBA, WNBA, MLS and NHL, as well as with Olympic and Paralympic teams. By nature of their training and experience, sports medicine physicians are ideally suited to provide comprehensive medical care for athletes, sports teams or active individuals who are simply looking to maintain a healthy lifestyle.


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

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