To examine the effect of a hockey neck laceration protector (NLP) on cervical range of motion (ROM) along with the athlete's perception on comfort and restrictiveness. Our hypothesis was that all styles of NLPs would limit cervical ROM compared to no NLP, and that certain designs of NLPs would be perceived as more restrictive and less comfortable.
Cross-sectional observational analytic.
Outpatient sports medicine clinic.
Forty-six male and female high school hockey players (age 14-18).
Four commercially available NLPs and no NLP.
Main Outcome Measures:
Cervical ROM and participant feedback regarding restrictiveness and comfort.
ROM values while wearing any of the NLPs were significantly less than no NLP for all cervical motion measurements (P < 0.05) with the exception of the Bauer Premium NLP for left rotation (P = 0.792). Significant differences were found between the 4 NLPs in terms of perceived restrictiveness and comfort (P < 0.05).
NLPs may reduce the risk of a neck laceration, but appear to have a negative impact on cervical ROM. This study challenges manufactures to design NLPs that cover vulnerable neck anatomy but do not limit a player's ROM. NLP designs that are most comfortable and least restrictive are recommended.