USA Field Hockey

Mar 07 Executive Director's Report- Week of March 23

March 23, 2010, 1:07 p.m. (ET)

Executive Director's Report - Week of March 23


Posted:

By Steve Locke

In last week's report, I included two letters from readers. One of the letters referred to the Town Hall meetings we conducted at the National Indoor Tournament at Virginia Beach, VA, and referenced safety equipment. Specifically, the use of goggles was brought up.

I have now been in this position for 2.5 months and am discovering that if there is a hot topic that abounds in field hockey it is safety and safety equipment. And, the safety topic seems to fall in many areas of the sport such as proper umpiring (to control the game), proper coaching (to learn appropriate and safe technique), and equipment. There may be some who do not have familiarity with the current rules reflecting eye safety in USA Field Hockey so here is a primer to help us all understand what is in place currently pertaining to goggles and masks.

USA Field Hockey operates under FIH (the international federation) rules. The FIH rule 4.2 (3rd and 4th paragraph) states players:  
...are permitted to wear throughout a match for medical reasons only a smooth preferably transparent or white but otherwise single colored face mask which closely fits the face, soft protective head-covering or eye protection in the form of plastic goggles (i.e. goggles with a soft-covered frame and plastic lenses); the medical reasons must be assessed by an appropriate authority and the player concerned must understand the possible implications of playing with the medical condition are permitted to wear a smooth preferably transparent or white but otherwise single colored face mask which closely fit ts the face when defending a penalty corner or penal stroke for the duration of the penalty corner or penalty stroke and when they are in the circle they are defending;

In 2007, the USA Field Hockey Board of Directors modified the rule (this modification is only for USA Field Hockey use and does not apply to international events staged in the USA or anywhere else). The rule modification with cross-outs is shown below:

Players' clothing and equipment

4.2          Players must not wear anything which is dangerous to other players.

                        Field Players:

-        are permitted to wear throughout a match for medical reasons only a smooth preferably transparent or white but otherwise dark plain colored face mask which fits flush with the face, soft protective head covering, or eye protection in the form of plastic goggles (i.e., goggles with a soft-covered frame and plastic lenses):  the medical reasons must be assessed by an appropriate authority and the player concerned must understand the possible implications of playing with the medical condition

Rationale
There has long been a debate in the USA about the use of  face/eye protection in the sport of field hockey.  The prevailing practice of the NFHS (60,000+ players) and the NCAA (6,000 players) is to permit the unconditional use face/eye protection (as described in FIH Rule 4.2,) while the FIH restricts the exact same protective equipment to be worn for medical reasons. 

The majority of USFHA developmental and mid-level players also play for their high school or college where eye protection is now permitted without a medical condition being present.  Thus, allowing use of face/eye protection can be viewed as having become the accepted norm for field hockey in the US.
Only a very small percentage of players will ultimately be selected to the USA High Performance pool where eye protection will not be permitted except for medical reasons per the FIH Rule 4.2.

The differences in opinion will continue (making goggles mandatory or not). The rule is provided above so that you see what is currently in place (and, it seems flexible enough to leave the decision in the players'/parents' hands). 

StickStarz and TurfTykes (our re-launched programs for kids 7-11 years of age) is well under way. USA Field Hockey's David Miller report that 10 sites have been set up for the 2010 season, and over 60 inquiries to create additional sites have been received regarding the two programs. Program specifics can be found within the USA Field Hockey site (http://www.usfieldhockey.com/programs/stickstarz/index.php). Both programs are made possible through USA Field Hockey's relationship with Harrow. It is an incredibly economical set of programs. The cost per athlete will never exceed $175.00 and includes a hockey stick, ball, tee shirt and USA Field Hockey membership. Community based organizations, such as Parks and Recreation departments and YMCA?s, may offer the program for less, but the equipment package and USA Field Hockey membership is not included.

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Not only is the program of interest to us in USA Field Hockey, but also we have engaged the interest of the United States Olympic Committee. The Olympic committee is continuing to prospect what kids' programs are found within the NGB world to see if possible commercial interests can be brought to bear.

The USA Field Hockey family had reason to celebrate last week. The USA Field Hockey staff honored USA Field Hockey Director of Marketing Simon Hoskins and his wife Erin with a Shower. They have recently given birth to a new youngster. Marketing intern Caitie Tornes staged the Shower for Simon not so much because he needed one, but because boys never have Showers. Simon was loaded up with pizza at the office and a bunch of pre-prepared frozen meals to relieve the Hoskins with meal preparation for awhile.

From The Tonight Show with Jay Leno: "Toyota has found significant inconsistencies in the story of the runaway Prius. That's really something, when a car dealer accuses you of lying." and, "The American College of Cardiology says that over-exercise can be as bad for your heart as no exercise at all. This could affect nearly two Americans.

From Late Show with David Letterman: "The world's smallest man passed away. He's the guy that never sat in front of me at the movies."

Have a great week!

Steve Locke
CEO/Executive Director
USA Field Hockey

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