Visor Debate Continues as Manny Malhotra Undergoes Surgery on Eye

Vancouver Canuck’s center Manny Malhotra is set to have surgery on his left eye on Tuesday. Malhotra suffered a serious eye injury after taking a puck to the face in the Canucks March 16, 2011 game vs. the Colorado Avalanche. Malhotra has since been ruled out for the remainder of the season. Unfortunately, that’s the best case scenario. If Tuesday’s surgery does not go well, Malhotra could permanently lose the vision in his left eye.

Manny Malhotra is set to undergo eye surgery Tuesday in New York. Malhotra could potentially lose the vision in his left eye.

Eye injuries in hockey may seem far and few between but they’re more common than most realize. The most notable was the injury to Bryan Berard, who, at 23 years of age, suffered what was then thought to be a career ending injury after taking a high stick to the face. Berard was wearing a visor. Berard did eventually find his way back to the NHL but could never regain the form the 1995 first overall draft pick had early in his career. Although this incident is the most notorious, there are many others. Eye injuries are different than other injuries. Players and well, all people really, have an appreciation of what their eyes do and a good understanding of just how delicate and fragile the eye is.

Every time another eye injury occurs, the debate rages on: should visors be mandatory in hockey?

No. Why would hockey attempt to solve the problem of eye and face injuries by making a half visor mandatory. Doesn’t that just solve half the problem? Full cages or full visors should be mandatory. Eliminate the problem completely. The technology exists but for some reason, hockey refuses to incorporate it into its game. What’s worse is the reason full visors and full cages aren’t mandatory:  comfort.

As pro-full cages as I am, I’m also the biggest hypocrite on the issue. I play rec ice hockey and rec ball hockey and I don’t even wear a half visor. Why not? I wish I could answer that. Unfortunately, there are too many hockey players out there, rec players through to the professionals, that fully understand and appreciate the dangers associated with hockey but don’t gear up accordingly. Why is that?

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5 responses to “Visor Debate Continues as Manny Malhotra Undergoes Surgery on Eye

  1. Ah, visor issue. This one never really goes away. I do agree that a full cage is the safest, but no one seems to want to wear one. i don’t see why we have to keep babysitting pro sports. If a player is willing to sign a waiver, let them not even wear a helmut. THEY have to take the responsibility for being hard headed and not wanting to wear safety gear. See how “comfortable” they are after a severe head injury when they loose half their motor skillls, or bust up their eye socket.

    You see change in other sports, such as motorsport. You don’t see MotoGP bikers wearing half shell helmuts, they havne’t since the sixties….. but you still see it on the street every summer. We just have to face that people are stuid.

    I wear a full helmut when riding and if playing hockey i would be going for the visor at minimum.

    So, theirs my five cents.

  2. I’ll buy that for a dollar but I wonder what owners would have to say about a player signing the waiver to not wear a helmet. Would that decrease his value to an organization? If that team wants him to wear a helmet with a full cage because they want to protect their investment, will the player seek employment elsewhere? I’m not sure there is an easy solution to this problem but I’m unsure why hockey players need to drop the mask later in their hockey lives. They grow up with it, why not just keep it? Most players aren’t raking in huge coin for advertising their faces are they? Well I guess ugly Ovi is, but other than he, is there a great potential for revenue by not wearing a cage?

  3. Yea the game is too violent these days. Even football, they used to allow kickers to wear that one bar face mask but not anymore. Why? Because the game and players were too violent. It seemed great until a field goal in the Dallas/NY Giant thanksgiving day game in 2002. When the one bar kicker got rocked after his kick was blocked, shattering his nose for a national audience to see. That made the NFL respond by outlawing the mask. The NHL however sees plenty of facial injuries every year, some very scary like Malhotra’s, and they stand there quietly with no solution. Face it, the game is way more violent now and athletes continue to get bigger, stronger and faster so this trend isn’t going to slow down any time soon.

  4. I see what you did there Ryan. Face it… its a pun. Smooth.

  5. Mark, I like your take on the matter. With the motorsport racing, was this something the drivers decided to change on their own or did the sport force them to comply? My bet would be with the sport forcing drivers to comply. This is why the NHL needs to be the lead hand on this and make full masks mandatory. Athletes of every sport have proven over and over that they do not know what’s best for them.

    Interesting side note, I did not know MotoGP bikers ever wore half shields. How does that make any sense? Surely there was the occasional stone that flew up or mosquito in the mouth. Why would anybody do a full lap without a full mask?

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