Hockey players dusting off their uniforms could be icing injuries once the season begins.
“They will have to be careful in their first game, because the speed will be a little bit faster,” said Denis Prud’homme, a professor at the University of Ottawa’s school of Human Kinetics.
The NHL and its players’ association reached a tentative deal Sunday following a 113-day lockout.
A 48-game season will likely begin in about two weeks.
But that doesn’t mean players are at a higher risk of getting injured, said Prud’homme.
“I would say no more than a regular season,” said Prud’homme, who once worked as a consultant for the Quebec Nordiques.
“For sure, it will be more intense. In theory, probably the risk is a little bit higher, because they will have less preseason games.”
Most teams have a strict exercise presciption, he said, and players have minimum goals to achieve.
“Even if they were off for longer periods of time, I would say most players (have kept) up their training since September,” said Prud’homme.
In this sense, staying on the ice is integral.
“It’s very difficult to find exercise off-ice that will be directly specific as what you do on the ice,” he said.
Same goes for the grass.
Almost a dozen NFL players tore their Achilles tendon in less than two weeks after a 130-day lockout in 2011, according to CBS Sports.
And injuries were reportedly up among NBA players, including Chicago Bulls superstar Derrick Rose, who tore his ACL.
Dr. Mark Aubry has been a team physician for the Senators for almost 12 years.
“I’m amazed and impressed with how well they take care of themselves,” said Aubry, adding they’ve been waiting for the season to get going at any time.
“Most of them will report in good condition.”
Reflexes will likely be rusty, said Prud’homme.
Hip flexor and groin injuries are common at the beginning of a season, he said, “because they’re related to quick accelerations and power.”
Aubry concurs, saying he mostly sees strains there, and sprains in the knee and shoulder.
“It’s why they will do lots of stretching before the game, after the game,” said Prud’homme.
“I’m quite sure that trainers will work very carefully with the players, especially for the preseason camp.”
Players should be careful when making quick turns and changing direction, which can strain the lower abdomen.