Of Ligaments And Litigation

While the Caps have been battling through the first and second rounds of the playoffs, another battle has been taking place, this one behind the scenes, and with equally high stakes. Accusations of poaching, talent raids, curfew and child labor law violations have been thrown around. It’s only going to get uglier – and more litigious.

Last July, we recruited an intern to help us cover Caps Development Camp. Camilla  filed for us and was on the masthead as an intern. For obvious reasons, we can have high school girls as interns here, but not guys. In any event, her talent was recognized by another DC blog and they spent vast sums wooing her away. She’s been filing frequently over at DC Sports Nexus, or whatever it’s called this week.

Barnett: “I Don’t dig Dugs.”

We’re lawyered up to the teeth and are spoiling for a fight. Say hello to our little friend, Bob Barnett, a K Street gunslinger and his bad ass crew over at Williams and Connolly. 

Their first win for us was securing the right to publish Camilla’s latest work, a paper on hockey injuries that she did for her George Mason High School health class.  The grade is still pending on her paper, but she remains A+ in our book.

Camilla covered her Mustangs hockey team this season and also manages her own site. We’re sorry that she has to be involved in this legal Tug Dug of War, but she’ll come out of this ordeal a far more seasoned writer (along with login information for her former employer’s site). Give her a follow on twitter; we promise you won’t be subpoenaed.

“This is a paper for my Health class project (last year!). The project could be on pretty much anything, from Anorexia to dreaming. It was a pretty vast selection to choose from but, being the hockey nut that I am, couldn’t help but pick “hockey injuries.”

Why hockey injuries as opposed to the origins of hockey or how the game is played? Because, actually knowing what a player might’ve injured when checked into the boards is pretty interesting and, in my opinion, gives you a greater respect for the players playing the game. And it sounded a heck of a lot more interesting than talking about Childhood Obesity. If you’ve ever watched hockey, you’ve seen it’s a very physical game. From the back checks to the brawls, the players out there are getting a lot of wear and tear. This paper talks about the common injuries received and how.

Players wear protective gear as to limit the amount of harmful injuries they receive. Dating back to hockey’s origins, players have used cushions/pads to protect their legs, especially their legs. Later, players added chest protectors and gloves. The most recent addition has been the helmet, which was made mandatory in ’79. While it became mandatory in ’79, only players new that year and forward had to wear it. The helmet was optional for older players who had already been in the league.

Hockey injuries are generally put into two ambiguous categories; upper body and lower body injures. Common upper body injuries include concussions, separation of AC joint, labrum tears, bitten fingers, hair pulling, broken bones from checks and fights, as well as cuts from fights, high sticks, flying pucks, etc. Common lower body injuries include groin strain, MCL/ACL sprain or tear, and ankle injuries from blocking shots.

Concussions are the most common injuries in the NHL. They are a result of illegal checks, clean hits, fights, the occasional high stick, and loose puck.  Of the concussion in the NHL, 17% have come from illegal hits (such as head shots), 8% from fights while the remaining 70% was divided between accidental collisions, which was 26% while 44% come from just playing the game. The other 5% is undetermined.

The shoulder is made up of three different bones; the scapula (shoulder-blade), the humerus (upper arm bone), and the clavicle (collarbone). The part of the scapula that makes up the top of the shoulder is called the acromion. The AC joint is where the acromion and the clavicle meet. The clavicle bone and acromion are held together by ligaments. AC joint separation happens when the ligaments holding the clavicle bone and acromion are strained or torn in more extreme circumstances. In hockey, this injury is often caused by a hard check into the boards shoulder first, an awkward fall on the shoulder, or fighting.

A labral hip tear is commonly caused by physical trauma such as a body check, or falling or hitting the boards while skating at a high-speed. When the player is hit, the labrum, a ring of soft tissue that holds the femur in place, becomes damaged, creating pain in the hip. While this injury is most common in the hip playig hockey, it can also happen to the labral in the shoulder which is also the same basic ball and soket joint for our shoulder.

The MCL and ACL are both outer ligaments in the knee which connect the bones in our legs. MCL and ACL tears are usually the result of quick pivots and a hit to a knee that is straight. While both occur, MCL tears are more likely to occur due to the MCL being o the outer part of the knee.

Injuries sustained from fights are often minor and include; black eyes, cuts, broken noses, bloody ears, broken fingers/hands, bite marks, pulled hair, losing teeth, concussions (although a little more rare), and the occasional broken rib as well as other bones.

Injuries when playing hockey do occur, but that doesn’t mean fighting should be banned and it’s a brutish sport. It just means players, and the NHL itself, need to take action against cheap shots and keep the game a little more clean. It’ll reduce the amount of serious injury, and hopefully, make the game a little more fun and safe for everyone involved. By all means, though, drop the mittens if someone bashes your star player or gives you a nasty check.”

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About Camilla A.

Unscrupulous student with too much time on her hands. Hockey blogger. Caps fanatic. Flutist. Grinders fan. Fashion lover. I love sunflowers!
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