The Mercury News recently ran a story about cut-resistant socks and sleeves, which Sharks wear them, which Sharks don’t, and why. Next to head injuries, the most unsettling type of injury there is in hockey are nasty cuts.
I can’t say whether refusing to wear these socks is unreasonable or not, not without trying one on myself. I’m pretty fussy about socks. I don’t care what they look like, but any little hole in the toe or an elastic that pinches too much in one spot and it’ll drive me nuts all day. So I will withhold judgment about how silly it is to refuse to wear these socks.
Murray was pretty blunt about the level of silliness:
“Hockey players are idiots,” said Cornell-educated Douglas Murray, who doesn’t wear the protective material. “You have to get hurt first so you know the value of it. That’s what we do.
“I didn’t put a visor on until I took a puck in the eye and scratched my cornea,” the defenseman continued. “You don’t think you need stuff, and then you add on as you hurt yourself. It’s plain stupid.” -Mercury News
Visors. That one I feel more strongly about. A visor, like a helmet, will interfere with your vision. Even if it doesn’t fog up, the edges will create a distraction for the eye. I understand why a visor is hard to get used to. But the number of players wearing them is proof that you can get over this.
What if you’re old? Can old dogs learn new tricks? I know they can, and also, these guys aren’t THAT old. They have many years ahead of them to spend paying for today’s foolish choices.
I have a horse who injured his eye recently. It became quite the hysterical drama when the vet said he actually had a leaking hole in his eye. It was treated successfully. His eye did not collapse and run down his face. After the vets gave the all clear, there was still a tiny pin-tip sized dot on the surface of his eye. The vet said that soon he won’t even see that. His brain will adapt and ignore it. His brain is the size of a walnut, if he can do it…
I know that hockey players have to function at a very high level of reactivity, that they cannot be skating around with partial vision impairment. To do so puts them at risk, makes them slower to react, blah blah. As Brodie Brazil suggested, if everyone has the same handicap, it isn’t a handicap.
The NHL isn’t likely to start changing rules about visors or socks right now. They are still trying to figure out how to deal with concussions. I suspect that visors can help a little bit there, but I’m not sure. I figure anything between your head and the wall has to help. Crush zones have been tested and proven useful.
Whether or not to wear a visor has a lot in common with the head trauma problem. They both present immediate inconvenience and only offer future benefit. See now or see later. Play now or play/walk/talk/think later. Maybe you get lucky and don’t have to make the choice. The Sharks have been lucky lately. But fortune favors the bold, and the pro-active. Rack up a debt or pay as you go, you have a choice but someone will be stuck with the bill.
It’s like the story about the good Christian who refused to be rescued from the flood. He turned away police and a boat and a rescue helicopter, claiming his faith would save him. When he asked God why God let him drown, God said “what more could I do? I sent the police, the boat, and the helicopter, and you refused them all.”
Once upon a time we didn’t know how concussions worked. We didn’t know how to make a good helmet, or visors or cut-resistant socks. Now we do. Now there isn’t any excuse to not use what we know.