Field Hockey

01 Overview

Field hockey is a team sport played on an outdoor field (grass, turf, or synthetic) or an indoor board surface, with goal nets at each end. Each team has 11 players, including the goalie, and players manipulate a hard plastic ball using sticks. This Olympic sport is governed locally by Field Hockey BC. Field hockey is associated with a high risk of injury, particularly sprains, strains, fractures, and bruises to the lower limbs, hand, and head.

(see Section 04 - Prevention)
Athlete silhouette
View Common Injuries by clicking the blue dots on the silhouette

Ankle strains and sprains are the most common injuries in field hockey.

Severe head injuries can occur, such as concussion, eye, and dental injuries. Less severe injuries to the head and face, such as bruises and cuts, are common.

Hand injuries, such as finger fractures, are common in field hockey.

Injuries to the knee and leg are some of the most common in field hockey.

02 Injury Statistics

The lower limb is the most common area to be injured in field hockey, with ankle sprains representing the most common injury type, followed by knee injuries. The second most common area to be injured in field hockey is the upper limb, specifically the hand. Finger fractures are a common hand injury in field hockey. Female college/university players sustain approximately 70% of head, face, neck and hand, finger, and thumb injuries near the goal or within the 25-yard line.

Approximately 22% of field hockey players have experienced at least one injury to their face or teeth. Elite players are more likely to report these injuries at approximately 45% compared to junior and senior players, at approximately 13%. Cuts and bruises to the head and face occur frequently, while more severe injuries such as eye injury, dental injury, and concussions are less frequent.

 

Curious about the research on injuries?

It is estimated that...

View Summary of Incidence Rates

03 Risk Factors

  • Game vs. Practice

    There is an increased risk of injury for field hockey players participating in games as compared to during practice. Injuries are more common after the first quarter of a game.

  • Playing Environment

    Artificial turf is associated with an increased risk of injury (turf burn).

  • Age

    Older field hockey players have a higher risk of injury compared to younger players in both practices and games.

  • Ankle Strength

    Weak muscles around the ankle is associated with an increased risk of injury. Strengthening the muscles surrounding the ankle joint through activities such as balance training can decrease the risk of injury.

04 How can I prevent injury?

Some muscle soreness or joint pain is expected when increasing your level of physical activity. It is important to listen to your body for persistent or worsening pain, and to know when to rest. Learn more about how to prevent injuries in field hockey.

  • Participant & Parent

    Talk to your coach or organization about the prevention strategies below and how they might be incorporated into training and policies.

    Equipment

    The use of protective equipment, such as gloves, eyewear, mouthguards, and shin guards can lower the risk of injury in field hockey. Check equipment regularly for cracks or other signs of damage.

    Strength Training and Neuromuscular Training Program

    Lower body injuries are common in field hockey. The risk of all lower body injuries may be reduced by up to 50% by regular participation in a balance training exercise program with a resistance training component, such as a neuromuscular training warm-up program. 

    Sport Injury Prevention Research Centre Neuromuscular Training
    The Sport Injury Prevention Research Centre has developed a neuromuscular training warm-up program that can be adapted to many sports. Incorporating a warm-up program like this one into your training program at least two times per week has been associated with a significant reduction in lower body injuries.

    Click here to view video and poster.

    Oslo Sport Trauma Research Centre Neuromuscular Training
    The Oslo Sport Trauma Research Centre has developed strength training exercises designed to prevent injuries to the ankle, knee, and other areas of the body. This resource includes videos and PDFs for download.

    Learn more about exercises to help prevent ankle injuries.

    Learn more about exercises to help prevent knee injuries.

    For more exercises, visit http://fittoplay.org/.

    Get Set Neuromuscular Training
    The Get Set app contains exercises that can be done at home. Created by the Oslo Sports Trauma Center, Norwegian School of Sport Sciences, and Making Waves AS in 2014 for the International Olympic Committee, the app allows you to search by body part to view exercises that work to strengthen each area of the body, or search by sport to view a library of exercises that are specific to hockey.

    Download Get Set for Android.

    Download Get Set for iOS.

    Managing Concussion

    It is important to be aware of concussion signs and symptoms and know what to do if concussion is suspected. The Concussion Awareness Training Tool (CATT) is an online resource for players and parents to learn more about how to recognize, prevent, and manage a concussion. CATT also includes resources on how to respond to a potential concussion situation, as well as detailed Return to School and Return to Sport protocol.

    Other Considerations (about this section)

    Sport-related Physicals
    Field hockey is a physically demanding sport and some pre-existing conditions may increase the risk of injury. A sport-related physical evaluation at the beginning of each season ensuring fitness to play can help to reduce risk of injury. KidsHealth provides information about what sports physicals are, why they may be appropriate and where you may go to get them.

    Learn more about Kids Health Sports Physicals.

  • Coach & Teacher

    Talk to your organization or school about the prevention strategies below and how they might be incorporated into training and policies.

    Equipment

    The use of protective equipment, such as gloves, eyewear, mouthguards, and shin guards can lower the risk of injury in field hockey. Ensure that all players wear properly fitting equipment, and that they check their equipment regularly for cracks or other signs of damage.

    Strength Training and Neuromuscular Training Program

    Lower body injuries are common in field hockey. The risk of all lower body injuries may be reduced by up to 50% by regular participation in a balance training exercise program with a resistance training component, such as a neuromuscular training warm-up program.

    Sport Injury Prevention Research Centre Neuromuscular Training
    The Sport Injury Prevention Research Centre has developed a neuromuscular training warm-up program that can be adapted to many sports. Incorporating a warm-up program like this one into your training program at least two times per week has been associated with a significant reduction in lower body injuries.

    Click here to view video and poster.

    Oslo Sport Trauma Research Centre Neuromuscular Training
    The Oslo Sport Trauma Research Centre has developed strength training exercises designed to prevent injuries to the ankle, knee, and other areas of the body. This resource includes videos and PDFs for download.

    Learn more about exercises to help prevent ankle injuries.

    Learn more about exercises to help prevent knee injuries.

    For more exercises, visit http://fittoplay.org/.

    Get Set Neuromuscular Training
    The Get Set app contains exercises that can be done at home. Created by the Oslo Sports Trauma Center, Norwegian School of Sport Sciences, and Making Waves AS in 2014 for the International Olympic Committee, the app allows you to search by body part to view exercises that work to strengthen each area of the body, or search by sport to view a library of exercises that are specific to hockey.

    Download Get Set for Android.

    Download Get Set for iOS.

    Managing Concussion

    It is important to be aware of concussion signs and symptoms and know what to do if concussion is suspected. The Concussion Awareness Training Tool (CATT) is an online resource for coaches and teachers to learn more about how to recognize, prevent, and manage a concussion. CATT also includes resources on how to respond to a potential concussion situation, as well as detailed Return to School and Return to Sport protocol.

    Other Considerations (about this section)

    Facilities
    The Ontario Physical Education Association (OPHEA) provides recommendations for safely implementing field hockey in elementary schools.

    Learn more about implementing field hockey in elementary schools.

    Sport-related Physicals
    Field hockey is a physically demanding sport and some pre-existing conditions may increase the risk of injury. A sport-related physical evaluation at the beginning of each season ensuring fitness to play can help to reduce risk of injury. KidsHealth provides information about what sports physicals are, why they may be appropriate and where you may go to get them.

    Learn more about Kids Health Sports Physicals.

  • Official & Administrator

    Talk to your coaches, teachers, organization, or school about the prevention strategies below and how they might be incorporated into training and policies. 

    Equipment

    The use of protective equipment, such as gloves, eyewear, mouthguards, and shin guards can lower the risk of injury in field hockey. Ensure that all players wear properly fitting equipment, and that they check their equipment regularly for cracks or other signs of damage.

    Strength Training and Neuromuscular Training Program

    Lower body injuries are common in field hockey. The risk of all lower body injuries may be reduced by up to 50% by regular participation in a balance training exercise program with a resistance training component, such as a neuromuscular training warm-up program.

    Sport Injury Prevention Research Centre Neuromuscular Training
    The Sport Injury Prevention Research Centre has developed a neuromuscular training warm-up program that can be adapted to many sports. Incorporating a warm-up program like this one into your training program at least two times per week has been associated with a significant reduction in lower body injuries.

    Click here to view video and poster.

    Oslo Sport Trauma Research Centre Neuromuscular Training
    The Oslo Sport Trauma Research Centre has developed strength training exercises designed to prevent injuries to the ankle, knee, and other areas of the body. This resource includes videos and PDFs for download.

    Learn more about exercises to help prevent ankle injuries.

    Learn more about exercises to help prevent knee injuries.

    For more exercises, visit http://fittoplay.org/.

    Managing Concussion

    It is important to be aware of concussion signs and symptoms and know what to do if concussion is suspected. The Concussion Awareness Training Tool (CATT) is an online resource to learn more about how to recognize, prevent, and manage a concussion. CATT also includes resources on how to respond to a potential concussion situation, as well as detailed Return to School and Return to Sport protocol.

    Other Considerations (about this section)

    Facilities
    The Ontario Physical Education Association (OPHEA) provides recommendations for safely implementing field hockey in elementary schools.

    Learn more about implementing field hockey in elementary schools.

    Sport-related Physicals
    Field hockey is a physically demanding sport and some pre-existing conditions may increase the risk of injury. A sport-related physical evaluation at the beginning of each season ensuring fitness to play can help to reduce risk of injury. KidsHealth provides information about what sports physicals are, why they may be appropriate and where you may go to get them.

    Learn more about Kids Health Sports Physicals.

  • Health Professional

    The role of health professionals in preventing field hockey injuries has two main components:

    1. Providing ongoing education to players, parents, and coaches on effective injury prevention programs such as balance and resistance training; and
    2. Ensuring that injured players are completely healed and fit-to-perform before returning to field hockey to prevent re-injury or chronic injury.

    Equipment

    Advise all players to wear properly fitting equipment, and to check their equipment regularly for cracks or other signs of damage. The use of protective equipment, such as gloves, eyewear, mouthguards, and shin guards can lower the risk of injury in field hockey.

    Strength Training and Neuromuscular Training Program

    Lower body injuries are common in field hockey. The risk of all lower body injuries may be reduced by up to 50% by regular participation in a balance training exercise program with a resistance training component, such as a neuromuscular training warm-up program.

    Sport Injury Prevention Research Centre Neuromuscular Training
    The Sport Injury Prevention Research Centre has developed a neuromuscular training warm-up program that can be adapted to many sports. Incorporating a warm-up program like this one into your training program at least two times per week has been associated with a significant reduction in lower body injuries.

    Click here to view video and poster.

    Oslo Sport Trauma Research Centre Neuromuscular Training
    The Oslo Sport Trauma Research Centre has developed strength training exercises designed to prevent injuries to the ankle, knee, and other areas of the body. This resource includes videos and PDFs for download.

    Learn more about exercises to help prevent ankle injuries.

    Learn more about exercises to help prevent knee injuries.

    For more exercises, visit http://fittoplay.org/.

    Get Set Neuromuscular Training
    The Get Set app contains exercises that can be done at home. Created by the Oslo Sports Trauma Center, Norwegian School of Sport Sciences, and Making Waves AS in 2014 for the International Olympic Committee, the app allows you to search by body part to view exercises that work to strengthen each area of the body, or search by sport to view a library of exercises that are specific to hockey.

    Download Get Set for Android.

    Download Get Set for iOS.

    Managing Concussion

    It is important to be aware of concussion signs and symptoms and know what to do if concussion is suspected. The Concussion Awareness Training Tool (CATT) is an online resource to learn more about how to recognize, prevent, and manage a concussion. CATT also includes resources on how to respond to a potential concussion situation, as well as detailed Return to School and Return to Sport protocol.

    Other Considerations (about this section)

    Sport-related Physicals
    Field hockey is a physically demanding sport and some pre-existing conditions may increase the risk of injury. A sport-related physical evaluation at the beginning of each season ensuring fitness to play can help to reduce risk of injury. The American Academy of Pediatrics provides information about preparticipation physical evaluation.

    Learn more about Preparticipation Physical Evaluation.