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Dear player,

Unfortunately, returning to play prematurely from any hockey injury can be career-ending.

In my experience with over 500 Olympic, professional and national-level athletes, there are two powerful factors that influence decision making with hockey injuries; (1) testosterone and (2) peer pressure. 

  • Testosterone is a hormone that can make you feel like a super-hero who is invincible and you can return to play tomorrow.  Unfortunately, no two people recover from injuries at the same time. Injuries take time to heal and only a sports medicine physician can tell you when you’ll be able to practice or play again.
  • Peer pressure is when teammates, coaches and even parents, make you feel guilty and that you should play hurt.  “Don’t be a princess, – suck it up” or “The team really needs you back. Do you think you could play this weekend?“.  Once again, only a sports medicine physician can tell you when it’s safe to play again.

As harsh as it may sound, the combination of feeling invincible and feeling pressured by others can lead to making poor decisions.  

When you’re asked, here’s a script that you can tell your teammates, coaches and parents…..

“I can’t wait to get back on the ice, but I have to follow my doctors orders on what I can and can’t do.  For now I just want to (1) stay in shape (2) do my rehab (3) so I’m ready to practice and play when I get the green light from the doctor(s).”

In my experience, it’s not uncommon for  high-performance athletes – who return prematurely from any injury – to initially under-perform, experience disappointment, depression, feel like a failure and want to quit.  

The key to preventing these problems, is following the advice / direction of a sports medicine physician and qualified athletic therapist or physiotherapist.

Bottom line: There is nothing more important in managing any hockey injury, than connecting with a sports medicine physician as soon as possible.

Terry Kane, Registered Physiotherapist

  • Former Physiotherapist, Canadian Olympic Hockey Team,
  • Former Physiotherapist, Calgary Flames Hockey Team
  • Former Consultant to the National Hockey League’s Injury Analysis Panel.
  • Founder / Owner,