Sports: How to stay out of the ER

Q: My daughter has started playing hockey. What do I need to know to keep her from ending up in the ER?

A: In the State of Hockey, it almost seems as if some children are born with hockey sticks in their hands and skates on their feet. 

Fortunately, organized youth hockey programs have made safety a priority and have taken a number of steps to reduce the likelihood of injuries, especially for kids in younger age groups.

These steps include safeguards such as full protective gear, restrictions on checking (and other collision activities) and tighter refereeing. 

In addition, a lot of ice time is spent on the basics of skating, puck control and stick handling, which can also help reduce the risk of injuries.

Hockey is a fast-paced, high-impact sport that presents a higher risk for injuries than other sports, but there’s been considerable progress in reducing the risk for participants.

And that is a very good thing.  

Dr. Peter Dehnel is a board-certified pediatrician and medical director with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota. Send questions to This column is intended to provide general information only and not medical advice. Contact your health care provider with questions about your child.