In New Hampshire high school field hockey does not require facial protection other than mouth guards. My daughter (17 y.o. varsity player) sustained a blow out fracture of her left orbit, extending into two sinuses and involving nerve damage of infraorbital nerve, now requiring root canal to her canine tooth, sutures etc. I am interested in learning how other states moved toward facial protection and if any one knows of other facial injuries of field hockey players. I feel the rule change of swinging above the waist has opened up a new realm of injury. Our team had an equally serious injury 2 years ago and we had two facial injuries this season. There is not a lot of data on this subject. I feel this is a new emerging trend. Any ideas?
Post by Eric Keefer, M.D. on Oct 25, 2005 22:01:48 GMT -6
The efficacy of protective eye wear is well-established in the ice hockey literature. In one recent study from the Mayo clinic, the risk of eye injury was 4.7 times less in players wearing partial protection and was eliminated in those players wearing full protection ( Stuart, AJSM, 2002 ).
The literature is deficient in similar studies regarding field hockey. However, common sense would suggest that field hockey participants would gain the same protective benefit from mandatory protection. The American Academy of Opthamology lists field hockey as one of the sports that puts atheletes at highest risk for eye. More information regarding sports at risk, more references regarding this topic, and recommendations regarding the most effective eye wear can be found at the following web address: www.aao.org/aao/member/policy/sports.cfm?RenderForPrint=1&
In terms of the reason why such protection is not mandatory in all states, I could not find any significant information. I would recommend talking to your coach. Regardless, I would check out the listed web site to learn about the options for protective eye wear.
While those recommended goggles may be "certified" or "recommended" for use in (field) hockey, they have never been tested, or submitted for testing in a lab setting. It is assumed that because hockey and women's lacrosse are similar sports (from the athlete's standpoint) , the goggles are safe for hockey. The other issue is that while those eye protectors are certified for either sport, they are only certified for one blow, and it is suggested that they are replaced/recertified after that blow. Most athletes only carry one set of said protection, and if that happens in the first 30 seconds of a contest, will they take themselves out?
It should be known that one should not confuse ice hockey with (field) hockey when it comes to protective equipment as one is a collision sport and the other is non-contact.
When speaking of common sense, have there been studies of the different types of injuries that have been initiated in ice hockey after the mandatory helmet requirement? I believe that the world governing body has information pertaining to the number of injuries and the type of injuries that occur worldwide; however, that would mean that National Federation would report those injuries to the USOC for tracking.
While it is unfortunate that this young woman sustained an injury, is there enough information as to the time line surrounding it? To my knowledge, there has been no change as to the legality of the stick swing height in hockey over the last three years. As trainers look for the mechanism of the injury, what were the conditions; was it on turf or grass; what was the coaching instructions that she was receiving; was any of the immediate involved athletes involved in an extreeme sense of fatigue; was it the stick or the ball, shoulder or arm? It can be the difference between a very powerful photo and a movie.