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In 1963, the Swedish Ice Hockey Association introduced the compulsory use of helmets for ice hockey players in matches sanctioned by the association. As such, the first rules were formulated for testing and certifying helmets. As a step in the association's efforts to reduce injuries to players, separate rules were also drawn up for the protection of the eyes, the teeth, and the whole face. It is now recognized that injuries to players have been reduced both in number and severity, despite a great increase in the number of hours of play. This positive result has been achieved both by the injury-prevention qualities of the protector and by extended compulsory use of combined protectors (helmets and face protectors) and, more recently, by the use of a throat protector. The development of head protectors during the last 25 years has been interesting and has been concerned with design, production, material, test methods and equipment, and so forth. There is no doubt that the hockey helmets have lead the way for other types of sport and recreational helmets. A study of the history of ice hockey helmets provides a good example of how rules and standards may guide the development of design and performance. All ice hockey players in Sweden who play in official matches are covered by group insurance. Therefore, the statistical data on injuries can be considered reliable.
ice hockey, helmets, face guards, throat protection, personal safety equipment, compulsory use
The Technical Committee for Safety, The Swedish Ice Hockey Association, Johanneshov,