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injury that is important enough to mandate protective equipment, even if that sort of injury is extremely rare.


Michael Koester, an Oregon based sports medicine doctor, chairs the SMAC. Data he supplies that led to the Medical Advisory Committee decision, was provided and is useful in understanding the SMAC's decision making process:


The Center for Injury Research and Policy High School Surveillance Study (called high school RIO), receives funding from the NFHS. Data for field hockey is only available for the 2009 and 2010 seasons, with 2011 data pending. This data is unspecific regarding eye injuries within the overall context of head/face injuries.


The National Center for Catastrophic Sports Injury Research, a University of North Carolina project headed by Dr. Fredrick Mueller, also receives a grant from the NFHS. Since data collection began in 1982, there has been two eye injuries, and six injuries total, reports classified as cata- strophic: a 1996 eye injury to a high school student, and a 1999 loss of an eye after a high school player received a


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stick to her eye in a drill. Three of the other injuries were balls to the head, and the sixth involved a player collapsing and dying during practice, unrelated


approach to reducing severe injury would include education about the risks of head and eye injury and strict enforcement of the current rules."


Newsletter, SportsMed, shows from 2002-06, 8 eye injuries in the '02 and '03 seasons, none in '04 and '05 (Connecticut required its field hockey players to wear protec- tive equipment starting in '04), and one in '06. The severity of these injuries is unstated. Anecdotal evidence supplied to the SMAC.


Dr. Koester responds to charges that goggles may increase non-eye related head injuries by separating the severity of these types of injuries: "Our aim is to decrease catastrophic eye injuries."


© ANIKA GOODHUE


to any specific field hockey activity. Mueller: "There aren't a lot of catastrophic injuries in field hockey period, not just to eyes."


Karen Murtaugh's 2001 Clinical Investigation "Injury patterns among female field hockey players." Her study shows no evidence of serious eye injuries, even as 42% of field hockey players have experienced some type of head/face injury. Her investigation discusses use of protective equipment, but says "a more immediate


A 1984 British study by Murtaugh entitled, Major Ocular Trauma: A Disturbing Trend in Field Hockey Injuries, cited three cases: A thirteen year old, fourteen year old, and a 29 year old, all involving loss of an eye. This study supports a high stick rule (in 1982 the high stick rule was eliminated, it has since been recovered), as well as protective equipment.


Data collected by Connecticut's State Medical Advisory, published in the


Committee on the Medical Aspects of Sports


Does an increase in non- catastrophic injuries out- weigh the importance of preventing catastrophic injuries? Showing this not to be the case is the goal of the field hockey community at large over the coming years.


Is there a chance the rule might be rescinded? Hopkins says no: "It's not going to be rescinded. It's final. It's done; let's move on.


Now we have a market for goggle manufacturers to work with, to allow them to make a better field hockey goggle."


fhlife@usafieldhockey.com


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