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cause4alarm

So what makes shoulder pads more protective?

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That is, if you're looking for the most protective shoulder pads out there, what would you look for?

In case you're wondering why I'm asking, I was skimming this study:
Caputo P, Mattson DJ. Recreational ice hockey injuries in adult non-checking leagues: a United States perspective. J Sports Sci Med. 2005;4(1):58-65. Published 2005 Mar 1.

And it says (emphasis my own):
 

Key Points

  • The injury incidence rate was found to be 12.2/1000 player-exposures, similar to previous Canadian literature.

  • The concussion rate was 1.1/1000 player-exposures.

  • 38% of injuries involved a lack of protective equipment and 24% of injuries involved penalties.

  • Full facial protection and shoulder pads should be compulsory.

  • Strict enforcement of game rules is necessary.

  • History of prior injuries was found in 89% of injured players.

 

There are several threads here asking for recommendations on low-profile/lightweight/minimalist shoulder pads, but I only saw one asking for more protective shoulder pads. Was just wondering what your thoughts would be if protection was your #1 priority.

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I think it depends on the level of hockey you are playing. I prefer mobility and a lightweight shoulder pads over protection. 

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Are you specifically asking about mens league?  I basically want coverage for random pucks or sticks, that’s about it.  I play essentially organized pickup or invite only skates and conduct is strictly enforced, so you don’t have to worry about the guy who thinks this is the Cup at 50 years old.  But guys can shoot, had a nasty yellow bruise last year after getting hit with a deflection in my ribs through my pads.  I have cheapWarriors from Dunhams.

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The study cited above is for non-check beer leagues (which is personally most relevant to me) but we don’t have to limit our discussion to that.

I used to wear those football style pads but switched over to Sher-wood 9950s because I play where people “aren’t supposed to check me.”

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4 hours ago, SkateWorksPNW said:

I think it depends on the level of hockey you are playing. I prefer mobility and a lightweight shoulder pads over protection. 

I want all 3...protective while being light and non-restrictive.

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Over the years I have gone from top of the line to the next level down.  I've got modded Sher-Woods that provide enough for beer league but lack the big shoulder caps that I hate.  I think you need to be protected and light but you sure dont need to be Ironman out there either.

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Seems like shoulder pads have grown from being just shoulder pads to also being torso protection, which are almost two different needs.
Sorta repeating the initial question, but as far as actual shoulder protection, have we found any pads to be more or less protective, specifically for shoulder injuries? Seems like the “technology” kinda peaked at a plastic cap that rests on your shoulders, and the growth in protection is more about torso padding.
Are expensive top tier pads any better at protecting the actual shoulder joint than 5030s?

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Coverage area above everything else, because they can't protect anything they don't cover; and caps that fully surround your shoulder capsule disperse force much better than anything like those old-school Sherwoods with a flatter cap that sits right against your shoulder. I don't know that they should be mandatory, because risking orthopedic injury is a personal decision; but even in beer league, totally accidental collisions can be just as hard as any full-on, open-ice check and you don't have to get checked to get taken down in a dozen different ways a couple of feet from the boards. 

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Like nearly every decision in life, it's a cost-benefit analysis. And "cost" meaning the negative aspects, not the monetary price.

For example, I always play with a full cage. I got used to it playing over the past 30 years so the cost is relatively low to me. And the benefit is quite large. I get hit with a stray stick or puck or something at least a couple of times a season, so probably every couple years I'd be needing to get stitched up or visit the dentist. So low cost - pretty high benefit, to me personally, of wearing a full cage, so I do.

The benefit of very protective shoulder pads (high end) is not much more to me than lighter, more mobile pads. Random cross checks, collisions, deflected pucks, etc. are handled slightly better by nicer shoulder pads, but typically only marginally so. And so usually the improvement is a smaller bruise. I do find the cost of mobile shoulder pads to be relatively low and well worth the benefit they provide over nothing. But the cost-benefit of moving up to more protective ones is not generally worth it, to me personally.

I do make an exception for certain games/tournaments that have a higher number of let's call them "aggressive drunkards". I do wear high end shoulder pads for those games. And the only moderate to serious torso injuries I've experienced as an adult were in these games, while wearing good shoulder pads: a cross check to the spine between the shoulder pads and pants that hurt for a couple months, and a cracked rib when a player suddenly decided checking should be allowed.

If I really wanted to minimize my chance of injury as much as possible, I'd just stay home.

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58 minutes ago, YesLanges said:

Coverage area above everything else, because they can't protect anything they don't cover; and caps that fully surround your shoulder capsule disperse force much better than anything like those old-school Sherwoods with a flatter cap that sits right against your shoulder. I don't know that they should be mandatory, because risking orthopedic injury is a personal decision; but even in beer league, totally accidental collisions can be just as hard as any full-on, open-ice check and you don't have to get checked to get taken down in a dozen different ways a couple of feet from the boards. 

Agree on all counts. Though with regards to dispersion, in a non-check game, force directly to the shoulder seems pretty rare. I find the flatter caps annoying because they can shift on me, but I don't know that I can think of a time I had a strong force directly to the shoulder where improved dispersion would have been advantageous. 

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Personally, I've only had one hard collision that was either shoulder-on-shoulder or my shoulder against a reflexive protective crosscheck. Afterwards, I had a pretty good bruise right below my shoulder and it was an area underneath the coverage of pretty beefy Jofa shoulder caps and arm pads. I'm guessing it would have been a lot worse under lighter pads. I've seen guys get tripped at speed and go shoulder-first into the boards like a bowling ball hitting pins. That would be my biggest concern without shoulder pads, with taking a high shot while screening a goalie behind that.

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I rarely play ice hockey and if I do it's organized pickup or subbing for higher leagues for guys on my roller teams who play ice together. 

That said, my general calculation is pretty simple. If I don't make a play because my pads are too restrictive, I'll probably be upset for a few minutes, maybe a day if it was a really big or critical play. If I get hurt because I didn't have sufficient padding, I'm going to be pissed and it's going to affect me for much longer. So I prefer more padding. 

That said, the only shoulders I own are Eagle Aero pros, which are not heavy duty pads, but that's mainly because I barely play. If I would play regularly I would definitely use more protective. Obviously I'm not trying to play hockey in a straight jacket, but I wouldn't ever sacrifice protection. I have little kids to run around after and work to get to. It's just not worth it. I also have had multiple shoulder surgeries.

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4 hours ago, Davideo said:

Like nearly every decision in life, it's a cost-benefit analysis. And "cost" meaning the negative aspects, not the monetary price.

For example, I always play with a full cage. I got used to it playing over the past 30 years so the cost is relatively low to me. And the benefit is quite large. I get hit with a stray stick or puck or something at least a couple of times a season, so probably every couple years I'd be needing to get stitched up or visit the dentist. So low cost - pretty high benefit, to me personally, of wearing a full cage, so I do.

The benefit of very protective shoulder pads (high end) is not much more to me than lighter, more mobile pads. Random cross checks, collisions, deflected pucks, etc. are handled slightly better by nicer shoulder pads, but typically only marginally so. And so usually the improvement is a smaller bruise. I do find the cost of mobile shoulder pads to be relatively low and well worth the benefit they provide over nothing. But the cost-benefit of moving up to more protective ones is not generally worth it, to me personally.

I do make an exception for certain games/tournaments that have a higher number of let's call them "aggressive drunkards". I do wear high end shoulder pads for those games. And the only moderate to serious torso injuries I've experienced as an adult were in these games, while wearing good shoulder pads: a cross check to the spine between the shoulder pads and pants that hurt for a couple months, and a cracked rib when a player suddenly decided checking should be allowed.

If I really wanted to minimize my chance of injury as much as possible, I'd just stay home.

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I'm sure I'm in the minority, but l personally believe shoulder pads should be mandatory in beer league, not for shoulder or arm protection, but to protect the chest.  A puck to the chest can stop your heart.  It's a ridiculous macho thing for guys to play without shoulder pads, and there's no good reason for it.  It's at the point where I play coed tournaments now and there are 110 lb women playing against 200 lb men, and they're not wearing shoulder pads because, "well if the guys don't wear them....".

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1 hour ago, boo10 said:

I'm sure I'm in the minority, but l personally believe shoulder pads should be mandatory in beer league, not for shoulder or arm protection, but to protect the chest.  A puck to the chest can stop your heart.  It's a ridiculous macho thing for guys to play without shoulder pads, and there's no good reason for it.  It's at the point where I play coed tournaments now and there are 110 lb women playing against 200 lb men, and they're not wearing shoulder pads because, "well if the guys don't wear them....".

I think some type of chest/shoulder protection should be worn. However I think it might be overkill to rock a pair of FT1 or 2S Pro shoulder pads for pick-up/drop-in unless you are skating with a bunch of morons taking clappers from 4 ft away at chest height. 

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On 8/1/2020 at 9:50 PM, boo10 said:

I'm sure I'm in the minority, but l personally believe shoulder pads should be mandatory in beer league, not for shoulder or arm protection, but to protect the chest.  A puck to the chest can stop your heart.  It's a ridiculous macho thing for guys to play without shoulder pads, and there's no good reason for it.  It's at the point where I play coed tournaments now and there are 110 lb women playing against 200 lb men, and they're not wearing shoulder pads because, "well if the guys don't wear them....".

I don't know if this sort of data is available, but I don't know how much shoulder pads necessarily help in that sort of situation. Growing up a kid a few years older than me got hit in the chest with a puck while wearing shoulders pads and his heart stopped and he died (I will caveat that this was in the '90s and shoulder pads have improved). As I understand, incidents of heart stoppage due to a puck to chest are incredibly rare. Sure, you can take the, "if it can save one life" sort of attitude. But at the same time you might as well wear your helmet while driving to rink as I would guess that is more likely to save your life than shoulder pads preventing heart stoppage from a puck to the chest, particularly if your car is older and doesn't have side airbags.

Edit:

I did some brief research and found this article: https://www.chicagotribune.com/investigations/ct-chest-protectors-commotio-cordis-standard-met-20160408-story.html. It focused on baseball mostly and summarized that there is no indication that chest protectors or even special heart protective gear reduce the risk of commotio cordis (apparently what it is called). The articles claims about 10-20 cases in the US, mostly younger boys, and is rare in adults. And the best solution seems to be immediate access to an external defibrillator to restore proper heart rhythm. 

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My younger brother played on a very competitive LL baseball team and he used to wear the heart gard thingy. Not sure how much it worked but it gave my parents a sense of control, which I guess calmed their nerves. My father grew up playing competitive college and minor baseball in the 60s and 70s, so I would imagine my mother was the one who was more worried lol. 

My best friend died in 9th grade in the middle of football practice. Someone threw the ball at him between plays, he wasn't looking and it hit his chest and he just dropped dead. They thought for a long time that something like that was the cause, but it turned out that he had a heart defect that just gave out, and they think it was just a bizarre coincidence, but not causative. But, I digress. Shoulder pads, yeah

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Yeah, I believe only one model of heart guard has any data indicating efficacy and I am not sure how strong that is.  I just don’t want it to hurt as much anywhere if I get hit, which has only been once in the last few years.

I did break my collarbone in mens league 20 seconds from the end of a game just casually going for a puck to chip it up the boards and down came mr. 250 lb pinching dman who could skate enough to get sped but apparently not stop.  Don’t know if beefy pads would have helped, I doubt it.

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I prefer more coverage and protection over the front and back in lieu of weight-savings.

I've only played in non-checking leagues and pick-up games, but have run into people full speed either by accident in a mid-ice collision or the other team checked me on purpose. 

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I went from the cheap Sheerwood which nearly got me killed, got a shoulder to the chest when my head was turned and was coughing for about six weeks after.  Went to a JOFA which was a tank but way to bulky.  Down to a CCM mid price point which was OK.  Then I found the CCM CL shoulder pads and could not be happier, I don't even know they are on and they have saved me at least twice with no problem.

Edited by Beflar
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I wear Projekts in a non-checking league. I find they’re a good mix of protection and maneuverability. 
 

I went down to low end Eastons at one point, but took a spill into the boards and my shoulder wasn’t the same for several weeks. 
 

I acknowledge that the shot to the heart may be 1-in-a-million, but if the weight and fit don’t bother me, I might as well have that covered, too. 

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On 8/1/2020 at 7:32 PM, Miller55 said:

I rarely play ice hockey and if I do it's organized pickup or subbing for higher leagues for guys on my roller teams who play ice together. 

That said, my general calculation is pretty simple. If I don't make a play because my pads are too restrictive, I'll probably be upset for a few minutes, maybe a day if it was a really big or critical play. If I get hurt because I didn't have sufficient padding, I'm going to be pissed and it's going to affect me for much longer. So I prefer more padding. 

That said, the only shoulders I own are Eagle Aero pros, which are not heavy duty pads, but that's mainly because I barely play. If I would play regularly I would definitely use more protective. Obviously I'm not trying to play hockey in a straight jacket, but I wouldn't ever sacrifice protection. I have little kids to run around after and work to get to. It's just not worth it. I also have had multiple shoulder surgeries.

How do you like the Eagle Aero Pro shoulder pads? How do they fit? 

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4 hours ago, SkateWorksPNW said:

How do you like the Eagle Aero Pro shoulder pads? How do they fit? 

I love them, very comfortable and light. Pretty traditional fit I would say, they're not super long do of I played a lot of ice I would probably frankenstein some extra protection and maybe different shoulder caps as I had my left shoulder labrum repair about 10 years ago, but they're awesome for my purposes.

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On 8/2/2020 at 6:08 AM, SkateWorksPNW said:

I think some type of chest/shoulder protection should be worn. However I think it might be overkill to rock a pair of FT1 or 2S Pro shoulder pads for pick-up/drop-in unless you are skating with a bunch of morons taking clappers from 4 ft away at chest height. 

I play rec, or did before lock down and the ban on scrimmages. I would go to stick and puck sessions, basically drop in non contact hockey. I’ve been deliberately slammed into the boards, once I stepped onto the ice on a line change and a wannabe skated into me at full speed, knocked me flying, he just got off the ice and ignored me. I’ve had a slapshot to the helmet, above the forehead, to the shoulder and to the legs.  I had a huge guy skate into me at full speed when nowhere near the puck (he looked very embarrassed and sheepish afterwards, careless rather than a moron). I’ve had someone take my legs out from behind, falling backwards, that’s the most scary and dangerous one. I’ve been cross checked into the lower chest, that hurt. There’s a lot of wannabes who try to prove their virility by steam rollering over some other players! 

I wear top end Bauer 2S Pro pads for health reasons, and I’m sure I’ve been saved from injury several times compared to entry level stuff. That said, the arm pads are rubbish. 

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I´m wearing higher-level pants and shoulder-pads and the better padding makes a big difference when falling on ice or concrete compared to the entry-level ones I had before. And I use a cage. I´m a beginner at 53 years und just want to have fun. Older people injure themselves more easily and the injuries heal more poorly than in young people. I also cannot afford to be absent from work due to injuries, which is why i want to reduce my risk of injuries.

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