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Mandatory use of face masks in intercollegiate ice hockey has resulted in a decrease in the incidence of facial lacerations (1). However, it has been noted that a single helmet strap does not securely fix helmets with this type of fixation system well on the head, which results on the helmet moving during the course of a collision which may contribute to the existing frequency of facial lacerations. The purpose of this prospective study is to report on the types of injuries seen with the single strap helmet fixation system in intercollegiate ice hockey. Over the course of three varsity intercollegiate ice hockey seasons, the occurrence, location, and mechanism of facial lacerations were recorded at the University of Minnesota. The total number of facial lacerations was 26. Of these 26 lacerations; 16 occurred due to the face mask colliding with the face as it tilted back on the head during a collision; 5 were the result of anterior tipping of the face mask where the nose was in turn lacerated. It is proposed that further studies be performed to evaluate the role of alternative helmet fixation systems in reducing the incidence of facial lacerations.
helmet strap, face mask, facial lacerations
Assistant Professor, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN
Assistant Athletic Trainer, Men's Intercollegiate Athletics, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN