Let’s just say you did everything right in the off-season. You stayed off your skates and recovered from last season’s injuries. You put in good work in the gym and got bigger, faster, and stronger.


You felt great getting back on the ice as you practiced for the first tournament to prepare for the upcoming season. But then suddenly – BOOM – something goes wrong, and an injury occurs and now the season seems all but derailed. What do you do?


Hockey is a physically aggressive, high-speed, collision sport. The game is played by physically aggressive athletes. The increasing speed and size of players, the stick work, and the body contact in hockey make injuries inevitable. No one likes being injured, but you have a choice: either use it or it uses you. If an injured player can accept what has happened and stay positive, the player could ultimately use the negative situation to be a better player.


An injury can be a challenge. Injuries hurt. In addition to the actual pain you feel, injuries can cause anxiety, frustration, and fear. These feelings can be controlled with a positive attitude and a constructive approach to rehabilitation, which includes goal setting and the commitment to a good athletic training program. Be 100% committed to the rehab process. These are the highly motivated players to get back on their skates. They see the value of working hard and give themselves the best chance to get back sooner. You might even be in better shape than ever before.


In a sport like hockey, injuries cannot be completely prevented. Simple things like good equipment, good nutrition, staying in shape, and keeping your head up can help minimize the chances of being injured. Stay positive and stay focused on the rehab process put forward by your medical professional, such as the team athletic trainer.


Mike Hannegan is an Athletic Trainer and Strength Coach with ten years of experience in the NHL with the Anaheim Ducks and St. Louis Blues.  He is currently the Director of the Compete Sports Performance and Rehabilitation facility inside The Rinks Yorba Linda Ice located in beautiful Orange County, CA.  He can be reached at mike@competeperformance.com.