Sun. May 26th, 2024

Former Pittsburgh Penguin Adam Johnson tragically died on the morning of Oct. 29 following a horrific incident where his neck was slashed by an errant skate while playing for Elite Ice Hockey League’s Nottingham Panthers in England. Johnson’s death comes nearly two years after 16-year-old Teddy Balkind died from a similar incident playing for his local high school in Connecticut. Neither was wearing neck guards. In the wake of devastating events like these, action must be taken. The time is now to mandate neck guards among all levels of hockey, including the NHL.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman (THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Charles Krupa)

In a sport where knives are attached to the feet of players moving at speeds up to 30 mph, players constantly running into each other and sliding on ice, doesn’t it make sense for arguably a player’s most vital area on their body to be covered up? There has been plenty of talk about advancements in technology when it comes to manufacturing newer neck guards, but before diving into that, the history of these incidents in the NHL needs to be acknowledged first.

Similar Incidents in the NHL

In the 106-year history of the NHL, there are two notable cases of a player getting their neck slashed by a skate: Buffalo Sabres goaltender Clint Malarchuk in 1989 and Florida Panthers winger Richard Zednik in 2008. Both survived, but their careers and lives were never the same afterward. Malarchuk’s incident was far more gruesome than Zednik’s, leaving his carotid artery severed and jugular vein partially cut. If it were not for the heroic efforts of Buffalo’s athletic trainer Jim Pizzutelli, the goaltender would have died.

Related: Today in Hockey History: Oct. 28

Latest News & Highlights

As for Zednik, his carotid artery was slit as well, but he reacted quickly and skated off the ice immediately. Head trainer Dave Zenobi immediately applied pressure to his wound, stabilizing him and most importantly, saving his life. Both incidents are arguably the most grisly injuries to ever happen in the history of the league, but luckily for the two of them, trauma-care-trained doctors were there to save their lives.

Regardless of the fact that there were trauma-care trained doctors at the scene, incidents like these should never be repeated in the NHL, or anywhere else for that matter. It can take up to 10 minutes for someone to die from a single carotid artery cut, and in the case where there is no trauma-care team present to take immediate action (i.e. Balkind’s incident), those 10 minutes become even more crucial.

Advancements in Neck Guard Technology

In a 2017 study conducted by Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine about which neck guard worked best to prevent lacerations, it was found that the seven neck guards tested (Bauer N7 Nectech, Easton NG, Reebok 3k, Reebok 11K, Shock Doctor Core, Shock Doctor 569 Ultra and Skate Armor) failed to protect lacerations at 600 newtons of force (equivalent to 135 pounds) at a 45-degree angle 79 percent of the time. Clearly, that is an issue.

However, a company named Aegis Impact Protection joined the neck guard market in 2019, this time with a different formula for manufacturing equipment. Instead of using the weaker foam that other companies use, Aegis works with a company called D3O, who produces a special form of protection that is not just impact-resistant, but slash-resistant as well. Players like Seth Jones are partnered with D3O, while hockey equipment giant CCM (who sponsors players like Connor McDavid and Auston Matthews) recently partnered with D3O to help manufacture their equipment.

According to their website, Aegis works with real athletes to help develop their products in order for maximum comfort but above all else, maximum safety. The Aegis Interceptor Neck Guard is the first Bureau de Normalisation du Quebec-certified neck protector that incorporates the aforementioned D3O technology. As companies like Aegis and D3O continue to grow, neck guards like these should be mandated, rather than the softer, foamy neck guards other companies have been releasing.

Addressing the Counterargument

When conversations arise about a full neck guard mandate, those who are against the motion will mention that the piece of equipment is uncomfortable. Yes, they can be uncomfortable. Yes, they can hinder head and neck mobility at times. However, they save lives. Just like when the NHL mandated helmets in 1979, there were naysayers about the move. Today, that rule has helped prevent concussions, cuts, fractures and countless other injuries. The same goes for the visor mandate debate in 2013. Fans and players originally argued it would make their vision suffer more while on the ice, but think of how many times the visor has saved a player from potentially losing an eye while blocking a shot or being high-sticked since then.

Other sports, Formula 1 specifically, have taken drastic steps to ensure their athletes’ lives are not in danger while performing. In 2018, F1 mandated “The Halo” to be installed on every car, a decision that came with plenty of pushback from drivers and fans due to the overall look of the car and how it slightly obscured their vision. Fast forward to 2023 and it has already saved multiple drivers from potentially life-threatening injuries.

There is also the argument of incidents like Johnson’s and Balkind’s being too rare for action to be taken. Quite frankly, that notion is reckless at best. Is it going to take an NHL player to die from a slashed neck before action is taken? Why wait until that transpires? This could happen to anyone playing the sport that is not wearing a piece of neck protection. No player should step out on the ice, playing the game they love and risk the chance of bleeding out while doing it. The bottom line is this: both Johnson and Balkind would be alive today if neck guards were mandated in their respective leagues. There is no better time to take action than now.

Checkout latest world news below links :
World News || Latest News || U.S. News

Source link

The post Action Must Be Taken Regarding a Neck Guard Mandate appeared first on WorldNewsEra.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.