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NCAA, USA Hockey Endorse Look-Up Line

This week, at the USA Hockey's Annual Congress in Colorado Springs, Colo., the NCAA and USA Hockey announced that they both officially support and endorse the Look-Up Line – a warning track colored in safety orange that extends 40 inches in width around the circumference of a rink – to be painted on the ice surface in an effort to promote player safety.

Back in April The New York Times featured the Look-Up Line where they talked with Dr. Michael Cusimano (a neurosurgeon whom heads the St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto's trama center). Dr. Cusimano said every year there are 6 - 7 paralyzing spinal cord injuries in hockey reported across Canada.  This past season in the U.S. both Matt Sorisho from Detroit Catholic Central (Novi, Michigan) and Michael Nichols of Monroe Township, New Jersey sustained paralyzing hockey injuries. 

The board passed a policy statement that allows use of the Look-Up Line line and encourages rinks that utilize the mark to report pertinent observations to the USA Hockey Look-Up Line Safety Task Force.

“There was terrific collaboration on the topic of safety,” said Dr. Michael Stuart, chief medical officer of USA Hockey. “We continue to make progress on all fronts and that is extremely pleasing to see.”

Thomas Smith, founder of the Look-Up Line and co-founder of the Thomas E. Smith Foundation, suffered two spinal cord injuries playing hockey and came up with the idea for a warning track in an effort to prevent others from suffering like him.

The endorsement occurred 13 months after the line was first implemented by The Pingree School in Hamilton, Mass. and just five months after it made its national debut on the ice at Frozen Fenway.

In addition to the support and endorsement of the Look-Up Line, the NCAA and USA Hockey have assembled the Look-Up Line Safety Task Force. This carefully selected task force will be co-chaired by Thomas E. Smith and the highly respected Dr. Mike Stuart.The committee will also consist of members:
•        Dr. Alan Ashare, MD (USA Hockey)
•        Dr. Carolyn Emery, MD (University of Calgary)
•        Joe Bertagna (NCAA Hockey East Commissioner)
•        John Gustafson (Vice President Sharks Sports)
•        Don Moffatt (Star Rinks)

Click here for more information about the Look-Up Line and how to have one installed in your rink.

Filed in: Non-NHL Hockey, College Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: monica+mcalister


Primis's avatar

I’m really not sure how the line is going to discourage the guys blasting other guys from behind.

Posted by Primis on 06/12/14 at 10:30 AM ET

MNWing's avatar

I’m really not sure how the line is going to discourage the guys blasting other guys from behind.

That actually isn’t the purpose. Its how the blastee (if you will) hits the wall. Go in face first with your head up, and you minimize the chances of spinal cord injury and cervical spine fractures simply because of the way your anatomy is positioned in relationship to how the force is applied to it. Go in head down and hit the top of your head, your anatomy is positioned in such a way that the forces involved make spinal injuries much more likely.

Here is an in-depth explanation:

Whether or not it works, who knows?

Posted by MNWing on 06/12/14 at 11:51 AM ET

awould's avatar

This seems like a very common sense idea that doesn’t require a rule change or anything too intrusive. It won’t stop every injury but it will stop some. Also, I do think over time it could actually discourage the blaster from blasting the blastee from behind just because it is another visual reminder.

Posted by awould on 06/12/14 at 01:17 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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