Hockey is one of the most exciting sports to witness and participate in. If your child is interested in taking up hockey, you should be encouraging but cautious. Hockey injuries can be very rough things to experience. This is how to keep your child safe on the ice.

Protective Gear

Your child’s hockey gear won’t just help them stay warm on the ice. It can also help them to avoid serious injury. They need to have a durable helmet, pads, and mouth guard, among other items. These should be properly fitted to your child and be in good shape. Proper protective gear can mean the difference between an injury being minor and manageable and being major and devastating. Without providing your child with a good mouth guard, for example, you may be setting them up for tooth loss.

Proper Skating Technique

Before your child even thinks about playing hockey, they need to be strong skaters. They should be able to move forward, turn, and stop on the ice with confidence. Take them to the rink to assess their current skill level before they pick up a hockey stick. You may find that they need skating lessons. Once they’ve demonstrated they can make their way around a rink, they can be trusted to learn hockey. There should be no rushing, as a lack of skating skill could lead to serious problems.

Avoid Conflicts

Hockey has a reputation for violence. Legal moves like body checking can be very rough, as can illegal ones like tripping. Your child might be a fair and honest player, but they’re likely to encounter at least a few who are far less considerate. Teach them to be vigilant for anyone being aggressive and to not escalate conflicts. Those who break the rules will be penalized. It’s not worth risking their hockey career because someone else upset them. Teach them that moving on from slights is far more powerful than retaliating.

Stretching

Playing hockey requires a whole lot of movement. Stretching is greatly important for helping your child avoid injuries. They should work their arms, legs, and necks before practice and games. If they are hurt or feeling any sort of pain, they need to take time off to recover. No matter how much they might want to play, it’s not at all worth the risk that could come to their body.

There’s no way to guarantee that your child completely avoids injury while playing hockey. However, you can definitely impart guidance to them that helps them minimize the possibility. Hockey is an excellent way to develop their coordination, sportsmanship, and confidence. You don’t want to risk any of that by having them endure an avoidable injury. In the event that your child sustains an injury, though, make sure they receive proper care. (If they lose a tooth, for instance, consider taking them in for dental implants.) That way, they can get back in the swing of things as soon as possible.

By Lizzie Weakley

Lizzie Weakley is a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors and walks in the park with her three-year-old husky, Snowball.

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