Field hockey is considered one of the oldest sports. With the evolution of the sport throughout the years, it became fast-paced and more physical. Due to the high-intensity of the sport, it resulted to a number of field hockey injuries that range from minor to severe.
Common field hockey injuries
Even though field hockey is categorized as a non-contact sport, acute injuries can occur from contact with the ball, stick, another player as well as the goal cage or playing surface.
Wrist and hand injuries
Since field hockey is played in a semi-crouched position with the right hand placed low on the stick, the fingers and hands are prone to injury from contact with the ball or the stick of the opponent. Hand fractures are one of the common field hockey injuries.
Accidental contact with the ball or stick of the opponent can result to facial injuries. Even though most of these injuries are minor cuts and bruises, severe injuries such as facial fractures, broken teeth and penetrating eye injuries have occurred.
Ankle sprains are considered as the most frequent field hockey injuries. The inversion-type ankle sprains are quite common during field hockey.
When it comes to field hockey, knee injuries include anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears that are quite common along with muscle strains in the hamstrings and quadriceps.
Concussions can also occur during field hockey competitions. Confusion and dizziness are the typical symptoms of a concussion, but long-term issues such as fatigue, headache and difficulty concentrating can also occur.
Even though acute injuries are often dramatic in nature, chronic injures includes a number of injuries. These include tendinitis of the knee, hip or ankle, low back pain and stress fractures of the foot and leg. The injuries occur as a result of repetitive activity as well as overuse.
Treatment of field hockey injuries
With any of the field hockey injuries, participation must be stopped until the doctor performs a thorough assessment of the injury. As for minor injuries, the treatment includes rest, application of ice and elevation.
Other injuries that are serious require further evaluation with an MRI or X-ray and a longer period of rest along with supervised rehabilitation and steady return to play as long as the symptoms allow. All forms of head injuries must be carefully assessed. The individual can resume the sport only after proper assessment or when the individual is completely free from symptoms.
Prevention of field hockey injuries
- Always use the proper protective gear while playing field hockey.
- It is recommended to gradually increase the intensity, frequency and duration of training to avoid overuse injuries.
- Be aware of potentially hazardous environmental conditions such as wet or warm and plan accordingly.
- The individual should take breaks from training both during and between seasons in order to avoid overuse injury and even burnout.