A superintendent in Massachusetts is calling for change to the state’s rules after a girl’s teeth were knocked out during a field hockey game by a shot from a male player.
The Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association allows males and females to participate in the other gender’s sports if it is not made available to their own – thus, a male is able to participate in field hockey, which is generally a sport for females.
The incident took place during a playoff game between Swampscott High School and Dighton-Rehoboth Regional High School earlier this week – a girl on the Dighton-Rehoboth team suffered “significant facial and dental injuries” that “required hospitalization” after she took a shot to the face from a male on Swampscott.
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Now, Bill Runey, the superintendent of the Dighton-Rehoboth Regional School District, is calling for change to a rule that has been in place since the 1970s.
“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,” he said, via the Washington Times.
“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 also said.
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The MIAA cites the Massachusetts Equal Rights Amendment, which was adopted in 1976, that discriminates based on gender – it was extended to scholastic sports three years later.
The MIAA said they “understand” safety concerns, but wanting inclusion has trumped it.
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“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 MIAA said in a statement. “The arguments generally fail due to the lack of correlation between injuries and mixed-gender teams.”