Though hockey is a popular and fascinating sport that many children fall in love with for a reason, it still remains a very dangerous one, causing thousands of injuries every year. It is important to follow some basic youth ice hockey safety tips in order to make sure that these injuries are prevented or at least minimized. They are not difficult but, if followed, your child will enjoy hockey without having any health problems.
It all starts even before your child enters the rink: the first thing you should do is take him for a pre-participation physical evaluation. Upon examining your child, the pediatrician will be able to tell you whether there are any special injury risks that you will need to keep in mind.
The most important thing, however, is that your child wears all the necessary safety gear during every practice and game. The safety equipment includes:
1) A hockey helmet it should not be too small or too big, and it must include a full facemask, a protective chin cup, and a chin strap. To ensure that the helmet stays in place and provides the best protection, the strap must be fastened and tightened. Before choose helmet, you can visit https://www.topicaltalks.com/hockey-helmet/ for more about hockey helmet.
2) Knee pads, shoulder pads, shin pads, elbow pads. Make sure to get the specific hockey equipment because, even though the similar gear is used in some other sports, such as soccer and lacrosse, it will not provide the needed protection.
3) Skates: in order for them to offer the necessary ankle supports, the skates must fit perfectly and be kept sharp.
4) Gloves: just any gloves will not do: they have to be specific, protecting the hands but still allowing movement.
5) Hockey pants, athletic supporter and cup
6) Neck protector. This piece of equipment is not required everywhere, yet it will protect from serious neck injuries.
7) Mouth guard. This is needed to protect the teeth, tongue, lips, cheeks, as well as prevent jaw injuries.
If your child is a goalie, he or she will need slightly different equipment to be kept as safe as possible. Apart from a helmet, skates, an athletic cup and neck protector, leg pads, arm pads, blocker glove, catcher glove, and chest protector are needed, of course, all the equipment must be of the correct size so it does not cause discomfort.
Before you start looking for a hockey team, make sure that your child feels comfortable just skating on ice. It might be a good idea to get some skating lessons before actually playing hockey, to practice stopping, turning, falling and getting up, as well as skating backward.
When your child starts feeling confident on the ice, you can choose a team. Find a league and a team that promotes safe and fair play. Ensure that the coach does not want to turn hockey into an even more cruel sport and that he enforces all the hockey safety rules. For example, the coach must teach the young players not to hit others on the head and not to use the stick as a weapon.
Injuries, however, can occur even if the player wears all the correct gear and has the best coach in the world. To prevent them, every player should always warm up and stretch before a practice or a game and use all the proper techniques that the coach teaches them. Staying hydrated is also very important, so make sure your child has plenty of water to drink before, during and after he or she plays hockey. Lastly, it is absolutely fundamental to always stop when getting hurt or feeling pain. No matter how insignificant the initial pain or injury might be, the situation will get worse if the player stays on the rink and continues playing. If your child gets hurt, he or she must get checked by an athletic doctor before going back to the rink.
During the game, it is important to remember and follow all the safety rules, just as if it was a practice. Every player must know and follow the hockey rules, respect every decision of the referee and stay calm if a player from the opposite team tries to hurt them on purpose. If this is happening to your child, he or she must let their coach and the referee know, and they will handle the situation.