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Is Hockey Safe For Children?

24 July 2023

For many parents, signing their child up for a new sport can be a nerve-wracking experience. Will they be safe? Will they enjoy it? Will they be good at it? With so many questions swirling around, it's no wonder that some parents have worries. However, there are many safety measures in place to protect children who play hockey. 

What are the dangers?

Hockey is a fast-paced game where players hit a hard plastic ball around the pitch using wooden sticks, in an attempt to score goals. Each team has a goalkeeper, whose job is to stop the ball going into the goal using their body as well as their stick. Unlike a football, which is full of air, a hockey ball is smaller and denser, and as such, there’s a potential for it to cause injury if it hits any part of the body, but especially so if it hits a delicate area such as the head or face. There’s also a risk of a player being hit by a stick. 

Protective gear is mandatory

One of the main reasons why hockey is a safe sport for kids is that mandatory protective gear is required when kids play. All players must wear mouthguards and shin pads to protect against being injured by the ball or a stick. Goalkeepers wear full body padding and a helmet. Depending on the surface, players may need to wear football-type boots with cleats, to help with grip, although many teams play on artificial surfaces these days. The use of this equipment helps to reduce the risk of serious injuries, including concussions and breaks. 

Hockey is a low-contact sport

Another reason why field hockey is a safe sport for kids is because it's a low-contact sport. Unlike football or rugby, where players constantly run into each other, hockey is a much gentler sport. There is still some contact between players, but it's usually not enough to cause serious injuries. There are rules stating that players must not touch other players or raise their sticks above their heads. 

Hockey promotes a healthy lifestyle

Hockey is a very active sport, which requires players to be fit so they can run around the pitch. Training for a sport encourages children to follow a healthy lifestyle, as they work on their cardiovascular fitness and learn about nutrition. Improved physical fitness and strength helps to reduce the risk of injuries. Kids will also learn how to warm up and stretch before and after activities, to prevent sprains and strains. 

Strong emphasis on fair play 

One of the things that makes field hockey a safe sport for kids is the strong emphasis on fair play. There are detailed rules, which are upheld by two on-pitch umpires. Unlike some other sports where winning at all costs is the name of the game, field hockey is all about playing fair and respecting your opponents. This helps to create an environment where kids can safely compete without worrying about getting hurt. 

Hockey is an excellent way for kids to stay active and have fun while learning important skills such as teamwork and sportsmanship. But perhaps most importantly, hockey is safe for children when proper precautions are taken. With the appropriate equipment and safety measures in place, kids can enjoy playing hockey without worry.

Photo by Jeffrey F Lin on Unsplash

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