Eye, orbital, and facial injuries are significant risks to National Hockey League (NHL) players, and can be mitigated by the use of a partial visor - currently optional for all non-rookie players. The goal of the current study was to determine the overall use of visors among non-rookie NHL players in the 2013-2014 season and assess factors influencing their uptake. This was an observational, cross-sectional study using active NHL rosters and demographic information obtained from the official NHL website. Visor use was determined based on in-game video or images at two different time points in the 2013-2014 season. The use of visors during the 2013-2014 season was 75.2% among non-rookie players. When rookies were included, the overall use of visors was 77.8%. Compared to Canadian-born players, European players were significantly more likely to choose to wear a visor (odds ratio [OR] 3.48, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.96-6.17). Players in the younger age-groups, particularly those younger than 24 years (OR 5.67, 95% CI 2.52-5.76) and those between 24 and 28 years (OR 2.18, 95% CI 1.23-3.87), were more likely to wear a visor compared to older players. Overall, visor use continues to grow in the NHL independently of new legislation, and is more likely in younger players and those of European origin.
Keywords: eye injuries; facial protection; ice hockey; professional sports; safety.