A field hockey team captain, whose teammate had her teeth knocked out by male player, has slammed a Massachusetts sports policy that allows boys to play on girls’ teams.
Kelsey Bain, who is the co-captain of Dighton-Rehoboth Regional High School’s squad, wrote a statement calling for men to be banned from playing against women after the horrific injuries her friend endured.
The female victim, who wears number 24 for the team, was seen on the ground in pain following the hit to the face on November 2. She was rushed to hospital.
The male athlete, playing in jersey number 2 for the opposing Swampscott High School team, was the one who hit the ball that struck her.
Footage of the horror accident saw the woman collapse and scream in agony after the ball hit her face, with the male player’s participation sparking backlash despite being allowed under Massachusetts law
Captain Kelsey Bain wrote to the association on Sunday, arguing that ‘by trying to create equality, you are only creating inequalities’
In the footage from the game, the Swampscott player controlled the ball, before releasing a vicious shot during a corner penalty.
The ball immediately struck his opponent across the face, leaving her with grisly facial injuries, including the loss of two teeth. She was sent her to the hospital – and she is now recovering, her mom said.
Shocked teammates could be seen leaning their hands on their knees and comforting each other after witnessing the shocking injury.
The law that allows men and women to participate in the other gender ‘s sports if it is not made available to their own
Captain Kelsey Bain wrote to the association on Sunday, arguing that ‘by trying to create equality, you are only creating inequalities.’
Bain also questioned if it would take the death of a girl at the hands of the opposite sex during a sports game for the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association to change their rules.
The statement read: ‘The shrieks and screams of fear and pain that projected from her after being hit filled the stadium. The looks of horror and shock on the faces of the girls surrounding her were also chilling.
‘Following the injury, my teammates were sobbing not only in fear for their teammate, but also in fear that they had to go back out onto the field and continue a game, playing against a male athlete who hospitalized one of our own.
‘The traumatic event sheds light on the rules and regulations of male athletes participating in women’s sports.’
She added: ‘We all witnessed the substantial damage that a male has the ability to cause against a female during a game.
‘I am sure school districts can institute co-op teams to create further opportunities for males to play in their own division, which I assume you are already aware of because, under rule 34 of the MIAA handbook, there is a division for boys’ field hockey listed under the Fall Sports category.
‘You have a chance to change the negative publicity the MIAA has been receiving due to the incident that happened on Thursday night by moving forward with the proposal for a seven versus seven boys league.’
Bain added: ‘How much longer does the MIAA plan on using girls as statistical data points before they realize that boys do not belong in girls’ sports? Twenty injuries? One hundred? Death?’
‘Altering the rules and equipment to adapt to gameplay involving boys is not only an inconvenience, but it comes with a physical and emotional cost for players who are forced to change the game they love.
‘By trying to create equality, you are only creating inequalities. Please use this as an opportunity to take a negative incident and turn it into a positive change.’
Dighton-Rehoboth Superintendent Bill Runey is demanding change in the MIAA law
The victim’s mother shared an image of the high school hockey team, along with the statement: ‘For all of you who have reached out and expressed concern for our family, I can’t thank you enough.
‘Your kind words, positive thoughts and prayers have helped us this weekend. We are blessed to have such a great circle around us.
‘A special thanks goes out to Dr. Gabriel Wassouf of Rehoboth and Dr. Alisha Sahu from Mass General, and all of the associated staff from this facility for their expertise.
‘You saved our girl, we are forever thankful.’
Viewers online have reacted with immense fury and criticized the law that allows men and women to participate in the other gender‘s sports if it is not made available to their own.
In this case, the male player can play field hockey in the women’s team because it is traditionally a female sport with less provision for male teams.
Following the incident, Superintendent Bill Runey of Dighton-Rehoboth – the school the injured player was from – sent an email to alarmed parents advising the event ‘dramatically magnifies the concerns of many about player safety’.
He called for a change in the rule that has been in place since the 1970s.
Runey said in a statement: ‘Last night, a female field hockey player for the Dighton Rehoboth Regional High School girls’ field hockey team sustained significant facial and dental injuries when she was struck in the face by a shot in the third quarter versus Swampscott in an MIAA (Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association) state playoff contest.
‘The shot was taken by a male member of the Swampscott girls field hockey team. This injury required hospitalization.
‘The player, her family, teammates and coaches remain in my prayers.
‘While I understand that the MIAA has guidelines in place for co-ed participation under section 43 of their handbook, this incident dramatically magnifies the concerns of many about player safety.’
The MIAA has hit back at Runey and stated that the 1976 Massachusetts Equal Rights Amendment prohibits sex-based discrimination. The Amendment was extended to cover scholastic sports in 1979.
They said: ‘The court determined that a blanket rule prohibiting boys from playing on girls teams, where there was no equivalent boys team, violated the ERA.
‘We respect and understand the complexity and concerns that exist regarding student safety. However, student safety has not been a successful defense to excluding students of one gender from participating on teams of the opposite gender.
‘The arguments generally fail due to the lack of correlation between injuries and mixed-gender teams.’
But the MIAA’s statement was not enough to convince Runey. He said that while altering the Massachusetts ERA would be difficult, action must be taken to ensure player safety.
‘Seeing the horror in the eyes of our players and coaches upon greeting their bus last night is evidence to me that there has to be a renewed approach by the MIAA to protect the safety of our athletes,’ he said.
Despite the harrowing scenes, the male player’s place on the team was defended by Swampscott Public Schools Athletic Director Kelly Wolff, who said he has ‘the exact same right to participate as any player on the team.’