Updated: Sep 25, 2019
With hockey season fast approaching, Elite Sports Medicine's Brian Boehme interviews Dr. Michael Galbraith about his role as the team physician for the WHL's Lethbridge Hurricanes hockey club. They discuss his role with the team, common injuries that he sees and injury prevention tips for youth hockey players. Enjoy the video below. A full transcript of their conversation is available below the video. Enjoy!
Video Transcript: Brian Boehme (BB), Michael Galbraith (MG)
BB: Brian Boehme here, physiotherapist with Elite Sports Medicine, I get the pleasure of interviewing my good friend, Dr. Mike Galbraith
MG: And an honour.
BB: And I appreciate that.
MG: The honor is mine though.
BB: I'll just leave it at that. I'm gonna get a chance to talk to Dr. Galbraith about his role with the Hurricanes. So I'm gonna ask him some really really important questions and he's gonna give me some good answers.
MG: I'll try to be honest
BB: And you guys will get a better idea of how we are involved with the Hurricanes but especially Dr. Galbraith's role in that. First question.
BB: Dr. Galbraith, what is your role with the Hurricanes and what does it involve?
MG: So my role, I am the head team physician with the Hurricanes. So I've worked with them, this is my tenth season, crazy. I started, we moved here in 2010 and I started working with them at that time. There's actually a bunch of medical personnel that work with the team. And so I'm kind of the primary care physician and primary care sports medicine physician So I'm actually the family physician for the players cause most of them are from out of town as well. And so as long as they are with the Hurricanes, I'll see them for coughs and colds and then I'll see them for their different injuries with the Hurricanes too. But we work as a team, so there are team dentists, team optometrists, team chiropractors, um the orthopedic surgeon who is a key part of the team as well. And I help to kind of coordinate care with them. And then even there are a few other physicians that help with team as well like providing game coverage.
BB: Awesome, and you already mentioned it's been about 10 years. That was my next question, so perfect.
BB: Good amount of commitment then, that's impressive.
MG: Well I'm trying
BB: Then my next question, what is your favourite part about working with the Hurricanes?
MG: You know, I think one of my favorite thing about working with the Hurricanes is that's a really young, impressionable age. Their usually 16 - 20 years old so think high school, beginning of college. They're still really teachable, they're coach able. I get to develop some good relationships with some of these young men. Cause a lot of them will come into camp 15 turning 16. And I can develop that relationship with them over years. And being to have some trust with them and confide with them and help them on their journey. A lot of these guys are gunning for the next level, the NHL and not many make it. But its fun to be part of that journey and I love working with that motivated athlete that's just all in and many times we have to pull back the reigns a little bit.
BB: Fair enough, well with that in mind, what are some of the common injuries you see at this high level of hockey?
MG: A lot of soft tissue and joint injury, so we'll see lots of shoulder injuries. So especially when guys collide with each other in open ice or maybe into the boards. We'll see a lot of different hand injuries. Again with collisions, saw a player yesterday with a broken hand, struck by a puck. A lot of guys are hit by pucks, shockingly in hockey. So a lot of bone contusions, see a lot of concussions. Lot of lacerations from skates as well. Sometimes you'll see some groin injuries, knee injuries, etc.
BB: Then kind of an offshoot of that question. What advice would give parents to help with their own younger kids with injury prevention?
MG: You know, a lot of kids start at a really young age in hockey. And especially in Canada, kids are born with skates and they can skate circles around me. I see probably a couple of things, big injuries with kids that do year round hockey. And so kids that don't take a break from hockey, they don't allow their body to recover. So that's actually really important. And we really try to emphasize that with the Hurricanes. In the off season, let your body recover. And so that means, avoid heavy training. And I'm a big fan also, number two is avoiding early sport specialization. So don't just say hey I'm going to play hockey and do nothing else. Go play baseball, do some other sports. It improves coordination, there's less injury and I think they become all-around better athletes. Sleep is huge for injury prevention and recovery. Making sure kids get really good sleep. Believe it or not, avoiding fighting in hockey can help a lot with injury prevention. I see a lot of injuries from fighting. So I think those are the big key things that come to mind.
BB: Awesome, I'll talk to my kids about that no fighting thing. Thank you so much for joining us and for having these important questions answered. I know there's lots of people that know you are involved with the Hurricanes but maybe not to what extent so that helps us out I appreciate it.
MG: Awesome, I think the pleasure has been all mine.
BB: And once again, I'll just leave it at that.
MG: Have a great day!