El Estoque

New rule establishes face cages for field hockey

Senior+Justine+Young+_______.+Photo+used+with+the+permission+of+and+taken+by+Ben+Yang.+
Senior Justine Young _______. Photo used with the permission of and taken by Ben Yang.

Senior Justine Young _______. Photo used with the permission of and taken by Ben Yang.

Senior Justine Young _______. Photo used with the permission of and taken by Ben Yang.

Jacob Lui


Senior Justine Young speeding towards the ball. Photo used with the permission of and taken by Ben Yang.

This season, instead of having the original problem of playing home games at Fremont High School, the girls field hockey team will have to literally face a new challenge—cages.

During the off-season this summer, the National Field Hockey Coaches Association placed a new rule that requires every player to wear a face cage during games. This accessory is a precaution implemented to protect eye injuries that happen often in a game where the ball can be sent flying towards a player’s face.

Last season, class of 2011 alumna Sara Hamilton was injured in the eye during practice when the ball flew through the air, leaving her eye bruised and swollen.

”We were very lucky,” said Bonnie Belshe, junior varsity girls field hockey coach. ”The injury could have been much worse. That’s why I’m personally all for [the face cages].”

The teams have not practiced or played with the face cages yet, so many are not yet sure if the face cages will be a problem. “It may impair their vision,” said Belshe, “but they will learn to get used to it.”

Face cages are not an entirely new concept in field hockey. The fly, a player who sprints towards the ball during penalties, was also advised to wear a face cage but was allowed to throw the cage aside after reaching the ball. This will be the first year where all positions are required to wear face cages during the entire duration of the game.

Senior Christina Aguila, a four-year field hockey player, also agrees that the new rule is not a huge problem. “We haven’t played with them yet, but it’s definitely something that we can adjust to.”

Varsity player senior Justine Young is somewhat skeptical, but also sees the reasoning behind the new rule. “[I’d] rather not have the face cages, but I understand why. Hopefully, it won’t affect the playing.”

With the final roster of the team, individual players will have their own face cage by the first game against Los Altos on Sept. 2.

“We always joke about how we’re going to ‘bedazzle’ them, so it’s not that bad,” Young said.

As the season opens, the face cages may present a new problem for new and returning players. But according to the coaches and many players like Aguila and Young the burden of slightly impaired vision is a small price to pay to avoid serious eye injuries.