Recently there's been a thread on the Community section on throat guards and I'll throw my two cents in. Wearing a throat guard has nothing to do with vanity and everything to do with protection. Drag flicks, deflections and point blank chip shots make it difficult to predict how you'll be able to react and where you're going to get hit.
As has been noted, the collar type and dangling throat protectors offer protection. In my experience I've found the acrylic ice hockey throat guards to be the most protective. Whether you wear a helmet and mask combination or a face mask, the throat guard ties to the bars of the wire cage on the helmet or mask. Because they tie at three points, they're not prone to flipping up when you dive like some of the dangling throat protectors. In addition, when it's properly fitted and secured the hockey throat protectors sit at the top of your chest protector. This prevents the throat guard from being driven back in to your throat when you're hit.
Ice hockey throat guards do take a while to get used to. With the movement of the field hockey goalkeeper, how the protector is affixed and the contact between the acrylic and the metal cage there is some clanging/rattling. When you way that against the possibility of a crushed larynx and a tracheotomy, it's a small price. I play a lot of indoor and a fair bit of outdoor hockey and I've had three protectors break as a result of shots to my throat. At twenty US dollars a piece, I can rationalize their replacement. I don't want to imagine the cost of playing without one.
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