J Athl Train. 2021 Sep 20. doi: 10.4085/1062-6050-0096.21. Online ahead of print.
Four student-athletes (aged 20 to 22 years old) participating in NCAA Division I ice hockey served as cases. Cases were free of injury, and participated in all team activities without restrictions. A dry needling (DN) lower extremity recovery protocol was completed on all cases during a single session. To administer the DN recovery treatment, static needles were placed in specific bilateral locations that consisted of 5 points on both the anterior and posterior aspect of lower extremity and lumbopelvic complex. The Acute Recovery Stress Scale (ARSS) was used to evaluate the effect of the DN recovery treatment on each cases perception of recovery at 24 hours post, and 48 hours post DN treatment. Overall, total and average scores of ARSS for all cases were closer to baseline at 48-post than the other time points. Recovery techniques historically have been used post-activity because even normal training loads, which are considered positive, produce athlete stress and fatigue and can lead to injury. Results from this case series suggest that ice hockey athletes who are experiencing post-exercise stress, such as soreness and fatigue, may benefit from a lower extremity DN recovery treatment protocol.