Abbey MacLellan, a young Canadian student at the University of British Colombia (UBS) has spoken out about safety in field hockey and how it needs to be better developped. In 2017 Abbey had been playing in her first game with the UBC Thunderbirds when a pass in the game had gone wrong. The ball had struck Abbey in the face causing her face to break in five different places along with a concussion. MacLellan stated that “It’s very traumatic. It’s different than breaking another bone in your body, maybe in your wrist or something like that. Your face is such a core part of who you are.” Maclellan had returned to playing after her injury but was allowed to wear a mask while she was still recovering.
The rules by the FIH (Federation international de Hockey) state that if a player wants to wear a protective face mask, they require a doctor’s note and medical reasoning assessed by appropriate authority. Masks can also be worn during penalty short corners and penalty strokes, but must be removed once the game resumes.
This event had brought up a lot of talk in the field hockey community, as there are a lot of injuries related to sticks and balls. Players are going to continue to get stronger and faster. MacLellan had commented “the safety of the game has to evolve to match the speed of the game.” It shouldn’t take multiple incidents for the rules to be changed. Safety in field hockey is just as important as it is in any other sport.