Joanna wrote to The Hockey Paper following an injury to her 17-year-old son on the hockey pitch and says head protection should be worn at all times
The subject of safety on the hockey field is completely ignored. A mouth guard doesn’t protect much against a flying hard ball or hockey stick.
Last month, my 17-year-old son had to be operated on for a jaw fracture from a flying ball during a match. He was playing as he does at weekends and received a ball full on against his jaw. This was on the field, not during a penalty corner.
His jaw got fractured in two places; one on the right near the wisdom tooth and in the middle. He now has had three plates installed to secure the brakes and enable the bone to mend itself.
Since being back home he’s been finding it tough. It will take about six months to get completely back to how it was. He’s eating smooth soups and yogurt and that could last a little while.
One of the complications mentioned was loss of sense on his injured side due to the nerve that could be damaged there. It could have been so much worse with the loss of an eye or worse.
He has been playing for a few years now and so does my husband and younger daughter. My husband regularly comes back from his games mentioning injuries that happened and has had a few injuries in his youth where he needed stitches.
The rules seem very strict about wearing a mouth guard. But if someone receives a ball in the head, a mouth guard is a small protection and will not do anything to protect the rest of the face.
Hockey is a dangerous and possibly fatal game and should be treated as such. It is actually amazing that the players of all positions don’t wear full head protective gear!
Like anything, it is when accidents happen that we wake up to the risks.
It’s like the seat belt in a car, now it seems obvious to all that a seat belt should be worn.
It seems very obvious to me that head protection gear should be worn at all times by field hockey players. I would certainly be one of the first to sign any petition.
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