Although not as common, an ice hockey neck cut is a pretty serious injury, with victims an inch closer to death’s door. This is why player safety will always be the top priority rather than entertainment.
For instance, the tragic passing of Adam Johnson after a skate blade accidentally cut him during an English league hockey game.
But this is not a common ice hockey injury because neck cuts are relatively uncommon in this fast-paced sport. One probability is that the game has evolved with stringent safety measures and protective equipment.
In today’s form of ice hockey, injuries only range from ligament sprain to AC joint separation. These are not life-threatening, though they might end a man’s professional career.
Still, a cut on the neck is something that should not be treated as a minor or common injury because:
The Severity of Ice Hockey Neck Cut
Yes, what happened to Johnson was a rare incident. However, its consequence was devastating—a loss of someone’s life. The neck is a delicate and critical part of the human body. It houses vital arteries and veins critical to sending blood and oxygen to the brain. Once it has been cut, players are in danger of bleeding out—a life-threatening situation—especially if they did not immediately get the needed medical attention.
In sports, there should be no loss of human life whatsoever. Which is why:
Call for Stricter Protective Measures
Johnson’s death was a wake-up call that injuries, even as rare as an ice hockey neck cut, should still be given attention. In fact, the incident had hockey players and organizations calling for the implementation of neckguards.
A neck guard is a protective piece of equipment typically worn by ice hockey players. This was developed after the Royal York Royals’ goalkeeper Kim Crouch sliced his neck artery upon diving into a fray in 1975.
There have been several incidents of skates accidentally cutting players, and Johnson’s death was considered the “sign” that neck guards be mandatory.
“I know it may not pass the ‘cool’ factor, but it’s time for mandatory neck protection at every level in hockey. The risk is far too great not to,” expressed four-time Olympic gold medalist, medical doctor, and assistant general manager for the Toronto Maple Leafs Hayley Wickenheiser on X.
My deepest condolences to Adam's family and the extended hockey family. Such a terrible loss of a young life.
I know it may not pass the 'cool' factor but it's time for mandatory neck protection at every level in hockey. The risk is far too great not to. https://t.co/YvUoMn7qTl
Implementation of Stringent Regulations and Compliance
There is a domino effect because of Johnson’s death, with hockey organizations and leagues starting to realize the importance of enforcing stricter regulations when it comes to player equipment. Although it is not the sport with the most deaths, players must be safe, regardless of skill level or age.
Increase Player Awareness
Educating players about the risks associated with neck cuts is paramount. Coaches, trainers, and league officials play a vital role in ensuring athletes understand the importance of adhering to safety guidelines and wearing proper protective gear. Emphasizing the potential consequences of neglecting safety measures can motivate players to prioritize their well-being.
Faster Emergency Response
In the unlikely event that a neck cut does occur, a swift and effective emergency response is critical. Team medical staff and personnel must be well-trained to handle such situations and equipped with the knowledge and tools to provide immediate assistance until professional medical help arrives.
For instance, Clint Malarchuk of the Buffalo Sabres collided with Steve Tuttle, causing the former’s neck to get caught in his own skate, resulting in a sliced internal jugular vein. He could not have survived the incident if he did not receive immediate medical assistance.
Sports deaths are uncommon, but injuries or incidents, like ice hockey neck cuts, must be considered. A slim chance is still a chance and should not be discarded until one suffers death. It is also not a sight to behold whenever you just registered on an online sports betting platform like OKBet and see someone lose their life over the lack of protective equipment.