JOHNNY BOYCHUK’S INJURY SPARKS DEBATE OVER PREVENTING SEVERE HEAD AND NECK INJURY IN HOCKEY
-The LOOK-UP LINE™ may be the Answer-
BOSTON, December 5, 2013– Last night Boston Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk suffered an injury resulting from a hit by Montreal Canadian Max Pacioretty. While scrambling for the puck, Boychuk was hit by Pacioretty and because of his proximity collided with the boards head-on. As a result Boychuk was taken off the ice on a stretcher. While play was suspended, Bruins and NESN commentator Andy Brickley mentioned a recent meeting he had with Thomas Smith (Foundation Co-Founder), as well as the preventative project that Smith is working on called the Look-Up Line™. The purpose of the Look-Up Line™ is to warn players where they are before they hit the boards. The concept is similar to that of a warning track in baseball, which allows players to know where they are in relation to the wall so at the very least they can brace themselves for impact.
Surprised nothing like this exists in hockey? You are not alone. The idea for the Look-Up Line™ was founded in 2012 while Smith was watching a Red Sox game and an outfielder was going back for a fly ball. While tracking the ball, the outfielder ran onto the warning track and as he got closer to the Green Monster he raised his arm to feel for the wall without actually looking at it. Smith could not help but ask himself, “How does nothing like this exist in hockey?” Like Boston University’s Travis Roy, Smith suffered a SCI (spinal cord injury) not once, but twice while playing hockey that eventually put him in a wheelchair for 18 months. However through vigorous cutting-edge therapies both in Miami at the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis and in Boston at Boston Medical Center he overcame all odds, recovered, and is miraculously walking again with the aid of loft-strands. During his recovery Smith had the opportunity to connect with some of the world’s top doctors and is now a public figure advocating for those living with paralysis. He is an advocate for SCI/paralysis research and cutting edge therapies; and more recently his Foundation’s preventative project the Look-Up Line™.
The Thomas E. Smith Foundation is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization that benefits those affected by and living with paralysis. It is our hope that through aligning with the appropriate officials and educating the general public that the Look-Up Line™ will be in hockey rinks across the world so that players can become more aware of where they are on the ice in relation to the boards. We believe this will ultimately decrease the number of severe neck and back injuries caused by head-on collisions.