USA Hockey is very concerned about neck lacerations and the potential catastrophic involvement of arteries, veins and nerves. To date, there is sparse data to describe the prevalence of such an occurrence, the severity, or whether or not a neck laceration protector (neck guard) reduces risk or severity.
Based on a survey of USA Hockey players, neck lacerations from a skate blade are rarely serious, but the potential for severe consequences due to nerve, artery or vein involvement remain a concern. In addition, current neck laceration protector designs do not eliminate the risk of a neck laceration.
USA Hockey recommends that players wear a neck laceration protector, choosing a design that cover as much of the neck area as possible. Further research & improved standards testing will determine the effectiveness of these devices.
USA Hockey continues to fund important research by leading medical professionals on this topic. The latest peer-reviewed research study was published in the March 2017 version of the Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine. Below is a short summary of findings in recent research.