Congress of Ice Hockey Medicine

Medical experts from hockey teams convene in Slovakia


Participants of the first European Congress of Ice Hockey Medicine train to transport an injured hockey player. Photo: Jan Sukup

BRATISLAVA – Last week the first European Congress of Ice Hockey Medicine was held in Bratislava. The event was organized from 5th to 7th June by the Slovak Ice Hockey Federation with the support of the IIHF.

“The congress offered many inspiring lectures for medical experts involved in ice hockey,” said Igor Nemecek, President of the Slovak Ice Hockey Federation and an IIHF Council member.

During three days more than 200 participants attended 69 lectures held by experts from 11 countries. Among them were recent Paul Loicq Award winner Mark Aubry from Canada, Beat Villiger from Switzerland, Markku Tuominen from Finland and Turkish professor Heubeily.

The main topics of the first congress day were functional diagnosis, genetic testing of young players and the still very ongoing concussion issue.

The congress offered several live workshops including one in which Aubry made a demonstration on how to transport an injured player off the ice.

“I am very glad that the lecturers didn‘t have a problem to show us their know-how in this field whether they are physicians or physiotherapists, coaches, referees or masseurs. I was honestly surprised since this was a pilot medical congress. We had a friendly atmosphere and it was a good starting point,” said Andrea Svrckova, the head of the congress and chairwoman of the Slovak Ice Hockey Federation’s Medical Committee.

Especially concussions and the reasons why they occur during games were discussed a lot among the participants.

„This is a very frequent and at the same time very logical question I am being asked. Ice hockey is very dynamic and its development is fast. Players are bigger, faster and especially stronger nowadays. The players’ head is exposed to the danger of collisions,” said Aubry, who is a member of the IIHF Medical Committee and an IIHF Chief Medical Officer.

“Even though hits to the head are being penalized very strictly, they still happen. Players pretend to understand it, but it doesn’t always look like they do,” commented Aubry.

The congress continued with lectures for physiotherapists, debates about current nutrition trends and food supplements and about emergency situations including the use of defibrillators.

“The congress has been organized at a top level, but I knew it would be like this. The Slovaks I know have a great passion for ice hockey. I suppose that everyone who participated in the congress left it with plenty of new information and knowledge,” Aubry said about the event.

“We have excellent physicians and experts in our hockey clubs and we also have information about global development in this field. If we wish to belong to the elite nations, we cannot ignore hockey medicine, which is an integral part of a hockey team’s preparation. Therefore I believe that this medical congress will have its tradition and although it was organized for the first time, it may not be the last,” said Svrckova.

– with files from the Slovak Ice Hockey Federation



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