Parent perceptions of safe hockey and their child's participation in physical activity / by Alyshia Landry
SubjectHockey for children
Safe hockey instruction
Parents' perceptions of children's hockey
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Background: Ice hockey, a very popular sport in Canada, is enjoyed by the young and old alike. However, like any other sport, participating in hockey exposes players to the possibility of injury. The majority of injuries in hockey are caused by "body contact", which include legal and illegal body checks. Injury prevention programs have been formed to teach youth about proper body checking technique and how to stay safe during the high speed game of hockey. The purpose of this study was to assess parent perceptions of safe hockey and physical activity, and to determine if parents would support a safe hockey course delivered to coaches online to help prevent further injuries in this age group. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted with minor hockey parents residing in Waterloo Region, Niagara Region, and Toronto. A self-administered paper-based survey was administered to parents in Toronto and an electronic survey was advertised to those residing in the regions of Waterloo and Niagara. Survey respondents were asked to provide basic demographic information, their attitudes towards safe hockey and towards their child's coach, as well as reasons for enrollment in hockey and other physical activities. Results: Almost all parents (92.2%) were in favour of their child's coach participating in a safe hockey course online. The vast majority of respondents (97.0%) felt that practicing safe hockey was a "very important" objective of ice hockey and many (84.0%) believed their child's coach was adequately prepared to teach safe hockey skills. The majority of respondents also agreed that hockey promotes positive child growth and development. Respondents indicated that their child is active 2.7(1.3) hours per day and the majority of parents indicated that they themselves are highly or moderately active. Almost all parents (91.0%) reported that their child is enrolled in additional activities outside of hockey and that their child participates in these additional activities while at school. Parents enrolled their child in an additional activity mainly because their child wanted to and because the activity promoted a healthy lifestyle and physical fitness. Interpretation: Parents feel that practicing safe hockey is a "very important" objective of hockey. Parents would also support the delivery of a safe hockey course online to their child's coach. From a public health perspective, safe hockey instruction should be implemented in minor hockey.
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