Statement From 2022 USA Hockey Winter Meeting

USA Hockey continues to recommend a neck laceration protector for all players. The heightened discussions around lacerations from a skate blade reinforce the recommendation that players wear a neck laceration protector that covers as much of the neck as possible along with cut-resistant socks, sleeves or undergarments. USA Hockey, led by its safety and protective equipment committee, will work with equipment companies and maintain efforts to ensure the safest possible environment for all participants.

Neck Laceration Protectors

USA Hockey is very concerned about neck lacerations and the potential catastrophic involvement of arteries, veins and nerves. 

There is sparse data on neck laceration prevalence, severity and neck laceration protector (neck guard) effectiveness. 

Highlights of research on Neck Laceration Protectors:

  • Current neck laceration protector designs do not eliminate the risk of a neck laceration: 27% of players who sustained a neck laceration were wearing a "neck guard" at the time of the injury.
  • Neck lacerations are potentially catastrophic, but most are superficial: 20 (61%) required bandaging only, 11 were sutured and 2 were glued.
  • Damage to the neck guard is not an indicator of the cut resistance of a neck guard. 
  • Neck laceration protectors with Spectra fibers were the most cut resistant.
  • Some neck laceration protectors shrink after washing, which may decrease surface area, expose more of the neck and reduce effectiveness.
  • Neck laceration protectors can decrease cervical spine range of motion. 

USA Hockey Neck Laceration Protector Policy

USA Hockey recommends that all players wear a neck laceration protector, choosing a design that covers as much of the neck area as possible. Further research & improved standards testing will better determine the effectiveness of neck laceration protectors.