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Concussion in Ice Hockey—A Cohort Study Across 29 Seasons

Pauelsen, Mascha MSc*; Nyberg, Gusten MD; Tegner, Cecilia BSc; Tegner, Yelverton MD, PhD, BA§

Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine: May 2017 - Volume 27 - Issue 3 - p 283–287
doi: 10.1097/JSM.0000000000000347
Original Research

Objective: The aim of this study was to analyze the concussion incidence rate ratios across 29 seasons in a Swedish Hockey League team.

Design: Cohort study over 29 seasons within one Swedish elite series ice hockey team.

Participants: All players who were part of one Swedish elite ice hockey team during the research period gave consent for participation in the study.

Independent Variables: Exposure to top-level Swedish ice hockey.

Main Outcome Measures: Incidence rate ratio for concussion and rehabilitation periods due to concussion were calculated and analyzed.

Results: During the research period, 267 players in total were part of the team. A total of 1638 traumatic injuries were registered, of which 162 were concussions. Incidence rates (IRs) ranged from 0/1000 games during the first season to 118/1000 games for the final recorded season. The incidence rate ratio was 1.06 (confidence interval, 1.03-1.10) for the entire research period. A shift toward longer rehabilitation periods was discovered.

Conclusions: This study showed a significant increase of concussion IR and a trend toward longer rehabilitation periods due to concussion. Possible risk factors were discussed. Risk behavior and rehabilitation protocols should be prioritized areas in the research of concussion in ice hockey.

*Division of Health and Rehabilitation, Department of Health Sciences, Luleå University of Technology, Luleå, Sweden;

Department of Radiology, Linköping University Hospital, Linköping, Sweden;

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden; and

§Division of Medical Sciences, Department of Health Sciences, Luleå University of Technology, Luleå, Sweden.

Corresponding Author: Mascha Pauelsen, MSc, Division of Rehabilitation, Department of Health Sciences, Luleå University of Technology, 971 87 Luleå, Sweden (

The authors report no conflicts of interest.

Received September 29, 2015

Accepted April 01, 2016

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