With all the news focusing on the Coronavirus outbreak, I thought this is a perfect time to write an article on how Hockey Players should always take the proactive measures to counter the probability of contraction and spread around of any type of illness in the arena, dressing room or team bench. For example, the Cold, Flu, Fever or the extreme of Pneumonia, Mono, Mumps, and now the Coronavirus.

Please Note: This article contains some common methods to avoid getting sick. Please, always seek professional medical advice for proper directions/instructions and see a doctor if you are not feeling well right away.  

How can Hockey Players be infected by these illnesses so easily? Think of places for illnesses outbreaks that can happen with our children that quickly come to mind: classrooms, college dorms, lunchroom or crowded transit. For Hockey Players, it can be as easy as players spitting, swapping saliva through either the sharing of water bottles, sweating (through playing the game or training), using the same towel to dry themselves off or rubbing their sweaty glove/hands in another player’s face during a scrum.

You can add to the list with the intense travel & training schedules and with the close quarter’s players are in between games. This means the arena or training facilities are breeding grounds for viral infections, even rare ones that do not generally permeate the public sphere.

Prevention

Let us see how you can prevent yourself from being exposed to infections. One important note to take into consideration, after a hard played game or training sessions, your immune system can be suppressed for a period of 3 to 72 hours. This period of impaired immunity is known as the “Open Window” to being exposed to infections. Being hyper-vigilant with prevention techniques during this “Open Window” period is advised.

Guidelines for prevention of illness for Hockey Players:

  • As mentioned above – Avoid spitting around the bench, sharing of water bottles, using the same towel to dry off or rubbing your sweaty glove/hands in another player’s face.
  • Execute all your recovery tasks post-training to minimize exercise-induced immune suppression.
  • Maintain optimal nutrition to enhance general health and maintain vitamin, particularly Vitamin D.
  • Avoid over-training, especially having chronic fatigue during the wintertime.
  • Minimize contact with sick people or in large public places after an intense training session (during your “Open Window”).
  • If possible, people that are coughing and sneezing try to keep a distance.
  • Wash your hands before eating or after contact with sick people, public places, after a game, training and bathrooms use.
  • Carry hand sanitizer to use when hand washing is inconvenient.
  • Avoid touching your mouth, nose and eyes with your hands, especially after a game or training.
  • Use clean, disposable tissues to wipe your mouth or blow your nose, and put soiled tissues in the trash immediately.
  • Do not share food or drink with anybody.
  • Wear appropriate clothing to avoid getting overly cold and wet.
  • Consistently get at least seven hours of sleep per night.
  • Last but not least… Keep life stress to a minimum.

Recovering from an Illness

Look, the bugs are out there! Despite your best efforts to prevent yourself from falling ill, it is going to happen. It is what we do afterward. Hockey Players are tough as nails and would rather play or train through most illnesses than rest at home. That is a bad idea! Playing or training through a viral infection can have serious negative outcomes. Even the common cold viruses can lead to an infection of the heart. It is better to rest for a few days when feeling ill vs. playing hockey or training hard and then blowing up into one of those serious conditions as mentioned above. Remind yourself that you cannot perform at top levels or build fitness on a sick body.

Finally, please download the following HockeyNeeds Coronavirus 2019 Trainer’s Kit to ensure that the correct steps toward awareness and prevention are taken for a safe & healthy conclusion to the season.

 

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Michael Orlotti

About Michael Orlotti

Michael has played various levels in Minor Hockey in the old MTHL league, High School Hockey at C.W. Jeffrey’s C.I., College Hockey with Seneca Braves - Now Called Seneca Stingers and was invited to play in Italy for the HC Milano Vipers. Attained his National Coaching Certification Level I & II from Hockey Canada. Also, Coached & Trained Players at various levels starting at the House League and through the GTHL A to AAA levels