(HealthDay)—Broken bones and concussions are the most common injuries that children who play ice hockey suffer, a new study reveals.
Researchers from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., found many of the kids with these injuries needed to be hospitalized or undergo surgery. Since ice hockey is gaining popularity in the United States, they noted that children should be reminded to wear all necessary protective equipment and to have respect for opposing players.
"Ice hockey is one of the most popular sports in Minnesota and is rapidly growing in popularity throughout the United States. Due to the fast, hard-hitting nature of the game, people often ask, 'What kinds of injuries might happen to my children?' " study author Dr. Michael Ishitani, a pediatric surgeon at Mayo Clinic Children's Center, said in a Mayo Clinic news release.
The study involved patients who were examined in a pediatric trauma center after being injured while playing ice hockey. The injuries occurred over a period of 16 years.
The researchers found the children's age and gender played a role in the types of injuries they had.
"Most injuries occurred in boys and older children, though approximately 20 percent occurred in girls, which is higher than previously reported," Ishitani said.
The study also revealed that older boys were more likely to have an extremity injury. Meanwhile, symptoms of a concussion more often affected girls and younger children.
The researchers pointed out there were few life-threatening injuries.
"Most kids aren't going to be the next Wayne Gretzky," Ishitani concluded. "I encourage parents and coaches to remember that kids are out there to develop their skills, be a part of a team and develop into mature young men and women."
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The U.S. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases has more about children and sports injuries.