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Bradley Nelson is a University of Minnesota Physician orthopaedic surgeon and Gopher Sports Medical Director.

Hockey injuries may be prevented with better enforcement, modification of rules, U of M expert says

March 9, 2011

Over the next five days, 22 hockey games will be played as part of the 2011 Minnesota State High School Boys’ Hockey Tournament. While the types of potential injuries that may result can vary from level to level, concussion rates may be very similar among youth, college and professional hockey players.

A University of Minnesota expert who can weigh in on hockey-specific injuries and prevention is:

Bradley Nelson, M.D., University of Minnesota Physician orthopaedic surgeon and Gopher Sports medical director

The most common hockey injuries are contusions, bumps and bruises. But as athletes get bigger, faster, and stronger, injuries move from bumps and bruises in the youth levels to fractures and ligament injuries in collegiate and professional levels. It may surprise some parents, but concussion rates may be very similar among the youth, college and professional athletes.

“As we start to look at data in youth hockey injuries, concussions are probably much more common than we previously thought,” says Nelson. “It’s probably the injury that’s our biggest concern.”

New research shows that it is very difficult to prevent concussions with equipment modifications. A large majority of concussions come from illegal plays and contact to the head. The most important way to diminish concussions is rule-modification, or better enforcement of current rules.

To interview Nelson, contact Emily Jensen, Academic Health Center, (612) 624-9163 or; or Kelly O’Connor, Academic Health Center, (612) 624-5680 or

Expert Alert is a service provided by the University News Service. Delivered regularly, Expert Alert is designed to connect university experts to today's breaking news and current events. For an archive and other useful media services, visit Views expressed by experts do not represent the views of the University of Minnesota.

Tags: Academic Health Center, Athletics

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