Serving the scholastic field hockey and lacrosse community since 1998

Dec. 13, 2014 — Heady questions, part 1

As discussions about headgear in lacrosse have led to legislation in Florida, there has been a small and subtle incursion of headgear into field hockey.

This week, the FIH Champions Trophy for men has seen a handful of players wearing more than just the facemasks that have started to become standard equipment for penalty corner defenders. Some defenders are wearing helmets with metal face bars. These are meant for use under FIH regulations for 2015, but are apparently being allowed for this year’s Champions Trophy.

We don’t know whether the rules changes were made because of a pair of reported head injuries to some facemasked players during the 2014 Commonwealth Games, but it’s apparent that, at least in the men’s game, corner defenders are adding more and more protection against the drag flick and against chipped or raised second shots.

On these shores, there actually was one field hockey player who competed for an NCAA championship with headgear. Freshman back Maggie DeFrank was in the Division II final playing for LIU-Post, wearing a hard-shell ice hockey helmet. According to her bio on the Post website, she wears the helmet because of previous concussions.

Of course, as we’ve delineated before, the science behind this reasoning is unproven because helmets were designed to prevent skull fractures. Indeed, you’re beginning to see some equipment manufacturers adding language to their sites and/or their helmets saying something on the order of, “No helmet can prevent every concussion.”

This has led to some interesting blowback when it comes to helmet certification. More on that tomorrow.


1 Comment»

  maggie defrank wrote @

Hi I’m Maggie DeFrank. The girl you wrote about. Your questions on why i wear it, just ask me i have a story that i would love to share

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