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Surgery. 2001 Oct;130(4):759-64; discussion 764-6.

Operative management of "hockey groin syndrome": 12 years of experience in National Hockey League players.

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Department of Surgery, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.



At the elite level of hockey, groin injuries can threaten a player's career. The aim of this review is to describe the clinical presentation and evaluate our operative approach to "hockey groin syndrome" in National Hockey League (NHL) players.


Between November 1989 and June 2000, 22 NHL players with debilitating groin pain underwent operative exploration. A repair, including ablation of the ilioinguinal nerve and reinforcement of the external oblique aponeurosis with a Goretex (W.L. Gore & Associates, Inc, Flagstaff, Ariz) mesh, was performed. Medical records were reviewed, and the players or their trainers were contacted by telephone after a mean follow-up period of 31.2 months to assess function, symptoms, and overall satisfaction.


All patients had tearing of the external oblique aponeurosis, with branches of the ilioinguinal nerve emerging from the torn areas. At follow-up, 18 players (82%) had no pain, whereas 4 (18%) reported mild, intermittent pain. All 22 patients returned to playing hockey, with 19 (85%) able to continue their careers in the NHL.


The "hockey groin syndrome," marked by tearing of the external oblique aponeurosis and entrapment of the ilioinguinal nerve, is a cause of groin pain in professional hockey players. Ilioinguinal nerve ablation and reinforcement of the external oblique aponeurosis successfully treats this incapacitating entity.

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