Re: NHL Competition Commitee Recommendations
posted at 6/4/2013 7:29 PM EDT
In response to red75's comment:
How is making a helmet or visor madatory different than making steel toed work boots, hard hats or safety goggles mandatory? For insurance purposes as well as trying to maintain a healthy and productive workforce, as to help with the bottom line, hundereds of thousands of employers around North America mandate certain safety equipment, and some industries have their safety standards mandated by federal legislation (such as wearing a hazmat suit when around radioactivity or firefighters wearing helmets and protective gear).
Well, for one, you'd want to be able to conclude that helmets actually make things definitively safer. That's kind of tricky. As dez points out, concussions and head injuries have gone up drastically since helmets became mandatory. It seems to me that the real danger comes from the increased speed of the game and the ill-intensions of opponents. Helmets have done little to reduce the risk of either of those factors. But fans like speed and fierce competition. So the NHL has made moves to increase speed and increase rivalry games, despite the apparent risk.
I guess my point is that the NHL is not really trying to protect players, they are trying to blend the best entertainment product with some of the easier safety requirements. If they were so concerned about employees getting hurt they could just slow down the game any number of ways. But speed, risk, and danger are what makes the game great, so they make smaller safety management rules like helmets instead of taking the bull by the horns.
I agree with this approach by the way, and I also agree with mandatory helmets, but every aspect of safety management is both a judgement call and a balancing act of entertainment value vs. injury cost. If we really want safety in this industry, take off the skates...
I'd prefer settling on a level of risk that seems reasonable. Helmets, and visors, seem like a small part of the equation, albeit a reasonable measure to pursue compared to other less attractive safety options.