State lawmakers to hear testimony on mandatory hockey neck guards after player's death

The death of a local teen during a high school hockey game is once again bringing up calls for mandatory neck guards every time a player takes the ice.

News 12 Staff

Feb 22, 2022, 10:32 PM

Updated 815 days ago

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The death of a local teen during a high school hockey game is once again bringing up calls for mandatory neck guards every time a player takes the ice.
State lawmakers will address a new bill requiring the use of neck guards in youth hockey.
Teddy Balkind, from New Canaan, died last month during a game in a fluke accident where an opposing player's skate cut his neck.
The 16-year-old's death gripped local high school athletic departments and the country. It brought up demands for youth players in the state to wear neck guards.
"Are you going to prevent all injuries? No, but there's a reason why this was created in the first place," said Joel Barlow, Athletic Director Michael Santangeli.
Hockey neck guards have been required by the state's high school governing body, the CIAC since 1984.
But private schools, like St. Luke's where Balkind played and some other youth hockey teams, don't have to wear them.
State lawmakers say they are going to leave a decision up to testimony from sports medicine doctors.
Some doctors say neck guards can cause cervical injuries if a player gets checked into the boards.
"I really want parents to understand that we're going to do this and we're going to do it right and we're going to make sure that any mandates, safety mandates come down from a place of science and data," said state Rep. Liz Linehan.
A friend of Balkind's has already started a petition urging USA Hockey to start requiring neck guards for all players.
State Rep. Stephen Meskers from Greenwich recently introduced the hockey neck guard bill.


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