Protect Your Neck

by barbaragarn

The player almost bled out. 

I’ll tell you right now that this story has a happy ending, but the details will chill you–and hopefully impel you to buy and wear neck protection.

A JMSer recently sent me this account of a near-tragic skate-to-neck incident:

I wanted to share this story with the JMS community. Everything ended ok, but it was very nearly something tragic.

 I was playing a regular hockey game, fun and unremarkable until suddenly one player tripped and his skate kicked up very high. 

The blade hit another player in the neck and severed a small artery. Blood was pulsating out of his neck, but very fortunately, he was close to the bench and there was a physician present and he applied pressure very quickly.

Since is was a small artery, the bleeding stopped without much blood loss, but the cut was very deep and very, very close to his carotid artery. The physician told us later that if the cut had been a fraction of an inch to one side, he was not sure that he could have been able to control the bleeding.

 Tragic injuries like this have occurred in the NHL with horrible outcomes. And the NHL has full medical support on site. At 11 p.m. in an empty rink, there’s not much that can be done. 

 I’m a pretty strong advocate for safety equipment–it actually drives me crazy that guys play with no pads or face protection. This particular incident was very, very close to something tragic… and fairly avoidable. I wanted to get the word out to JMSers that it does matter if you wear a face shield and a neck guard. 

 I know some people think they are “wimpy” or “for Mites and Squirts.” I have only been playing hockey a few years and I’ve already seen someone get hit in the face with a puck just a quarter inch of an inch from their eye (they would have doubtless lost the eye in a direct hit), someone crack a mouth full of teeth, and then this event where the player was literally less than an inch from possible death, right there on the ice at the local rink at 11 at night.

I don’t mean to sound melodramatic, but this stuff actually happens and is almost completely avoidable with minimal cost or discomfort.

Happy Ending Part 1

I did hear that the injured player had to have vascular surgery on the artery. He’s going to be okay, but he was told again that an inch to the side and he likely would have bled to death. Scary.

Happy Ending Part 2…

… is up to you, the reader of this blog. 

Hopefully this story will encourage you to get and wear protective equipment. It’s a small cost and minimal discomfort, but worth a lot when protecting your safety.


Here are some links to get you started:–bearings—-misc–more-protective-gear.html