Friday, June 1, 2012

HockeyGear: StomaGuard

I had traded Rectal Cancer for a Resection and Permanent Colostomy, and 4 months later I was back playing hockey.  I was naturally concerned about herniating, and about stoma-damage by rubbing or impacts.

Hockey is a rough game.  The best hockey players are big, strong, fast, aggressive, and mean.  I only have the ‘fast’, and some players are double my weight.  I have always worn the best protective equipment to avoid injuries.  And that was before I had a colostomy and stoma. 

I first tried playing with just an unprotected pouch. As my stoma was on-line with my hockey pants belt, the rubbing was an obvious problem. I was feeling unsupported and insecure about herniating, and certainly nervous about impacts.  So I quit this experiment after 1 game.
I then tried playing with the Convatec Stoma Cap Cover and a Nu-Hope Ostomy Girdle.   I used this setup for most of 2 years, and it gave me moderate impact protection, and good hernia support.  But the girdle cost some flexibility of movement, and there was slippage of both the Stoma Cap Cover and the girdle, which stressed my flange adhesive.
I wanted superior impact protection, similar hernia support, with better flexibility.  I talked with Bob Zurowski from Stomaplex and got the answer.  

Freedom-Guard's outer shield is strong enough to take hockey impacts, but can be bent to fit the abdominal contour. The belt is comfortable on my skin, and gives good hernia protection without restricting flexibility or mobility.  The U-shaped padding holds the appliance in place, while protecting the stoma.  I wanted extreme protection for hockey, so Bob built the neoprene padding out to 5/8 inch.  I was pleasantly surprised that the Freedom-Guard stays in place, with no shifting or sliding, even with the hockey-belt right on the Freedom-Guard, and the hockey pants moving as I stretch, bend, and rotate.

With the Freedom-Guard, I feel confident the appliance will stay secure. 
I feel supported for hernia protection, and I know I am safe from impacts.

Now the real game-day testimonials. It has been mentioned that I play bigger than my size (‘he’s only 150 pounds, but plays like he’s 190). I think that is intended to be complimentary, but that style is hard on my body.  In 55 years of hockey I made a quick count of 3 concussions requiring hospitalization, 12 broken bones, 3 shoulder separations, and 1 torn knee.  A colostomy hasn’t changed that style. I have taken hits, crashed into the boards, fallen on the ice, blocked shots, and been speared with sticks.  
Sometimes I hurt.  But my stoma has never been hurt. 
It is a real testament to StomaPlex that I can continue to play that style with warranted confidence.

Read Prior posts on

I receive no financial benefit for sharing this experience, testimonial and product review.
You can learn more about the Freedom-Guard at Stomaplex


  1. And where do you get this piece of equipment?
    I am a goalie, and we play non-check.

    1. This came from Stomaplex. Its pricey but like most hockey gear, you get what you pay for. For me, I will pay to get the best. Goalie is interesting. I have heard some chatter of putting together an ostomates hockey team that could go on the road as a fundraiser. Challenge of course would be to find a corporate sponsor to cover the travel costs. There have been 6 ostomate-hockey-players talking about this.

    2. An ostomate hockey team is such a neat idea!! I wonder if I could round up enough roller derby players out there to do the same?!

      Thanks again, Paul, for recommending Stomaplex. I cannot wait to return to derby once I heal from surgery!

      p.s. - Congrats on the Hollister calendar! You are very inspiring!

  2. Like you I recently traded rectal cancer for permanent colostomy. I am still healing up from surgery and see about follow up chemo on December 27th. Anyway I am thinking about getting the Stomaplex Freedom Guard for work and gardening. I work on furniture so you always have the risk of hitting your stoma or bumping it when you move pieces of furniture. I raise a big garden and run a tiller and don't want it kicking back and hitting my stoma. I was wondering how you felt about the Stomaplex Freedom Guard for that I am wanting to use it for. It will to protect me from bumps and a hernia moving furniture.

  3. The Stomaplex Freedom Guard would certainly work for both your gardening and furniture activities. Each of these activities can result in sharp hits or heavy forceful bumps. My experience is mostly with hockey, but the Freedom Guard certainly protects from direct sharp hits with a stick or puck, and from the heavy forceful bump of a body check. I would certainly recommend the Freedom Guard for your activities. Good luck with the product and with your chemo.

    1. Thank you Paul and I started my follow up chemo. I will be going to chemo every two weeks for 12 treatments. I hate that it makes me so sensitive to cold that I can't even drink anything with ice in it. Even handling things from the refrigerator I have to wear gloves. Let alone being outside with the weather being so cold. But I will get through this and it will warm up. I am planning on getting one of these in the future for my job and for gardening. As I said moving furniture you can have a piece slip and having piece of furniture hit you is quite a hit. With this I am sure I will feel much better about handling furniture and running a tiller. Which due to low gearing can hit you hard if it kicks back. Thank you again. Tom