Wednesday, January 15, 2014

When Hockey Hurts

My son Joe broke his wrist during an away tournament. His teammates dedicate their win to him 
   It was painful to watch when it happened and the recovery was long and painful too. My son's wrist snapped when he went flying into the boards during a tournament in Niagara Falls. Far from home, we had to take him to a hospital in Niagara Falls. It was scary for him and for us, not knowing the doctors, the hospital and having gunshot victims right next to us. After an X-ray confirmed the break, we rode in an ambulance to Children's Hospital in Buffalo. Brighter, more cheerful surroundings, but nothing could cheer up our hockey player. It wasn't just his wrist that was broken. His heart was broken too. All he wanted to do was play and felt a pang of guilt, that he was letting down his team. He insisted on staying until the end of the tournament. What a great bunch of boys though. His teammates rallied around him and even dedicated their victory to him. Note the trophy ON the cast in the photo above. That Niagara Falls fracture would be the first in a long line of injuries for my boy. Our orthopedic surgeon now on speed dial, there was a lot we learned about injuries, treatment  and prevention.
   To prevent muscle and joint injuries, get your kid in the habit of stretching! This year my daughter's coach mandates all players arrive 45 minutes before each game to get their muscles moving before they get dressed and hit the ice. I've noticed the kids are having a lot of fun, getting creative with their warm ups led by their team captains.
   Treat bruises with RICE. Rest, ice, compression and elevation.Same with sprains, but a trip to the doctor is in order too with a sprain. Breaks require a trip to the emergency room. If you can't call for an ambulance, using a shinguard to support an injured forearm bone or shin bone will help. Experts say wrap the guard around the limb and secure it with hockey tape to help stabilize the injury during transport. Expect a two month recovery time and be prepared for a range of emotions which may include anger, sadness and even depression.Don't isolate them from teammates and coaches. My son stayed active with the team, went to the games and offered some great defensive strategies from the bench.It wasn't easy and it seemed like the longest season ever, but stay positive!
   Stress to your kid that they should never skate through pain. If something hurts, they need to get off the ice! This especially goes for hard hits to the head. I saw it happen just this past weekend when a player's head hit the crossbars of the goal. He went down hard and was down for a few seconds (though is seemed longer.) He got up and he had some help skating back to the bench. Next period he was out skating.  He didn't tell anyone that he may have blacked out for a second and didn't share the truth about his headache. Turns out he has a mild concussion. Let's make sure our kids understand the seriousness of concussions and don't hesitate having them checked out by a doctor ASAP! Even if the impact seems minor, coaches and parents must react quickly and smartly. When in doubt, sit them out.  The rule should always be, play it safe!                                        

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