Helmets push needs close examination

LONG-serving Ipswich hockey umpire Murray Rogers hopes any top-level reaction to the tragedy in Perth is measured.

"I know there is a doctor somewhere who is advocating the use of helmets," Rogers said.

"That would be up to administrators and other people but how far do you go?

"I hope they don't have a huge knee-jerk reaction and force wholesale changes.

"There needs to be some informed discussion around."

Rogers said while safety should remain a top priority, freak accidents happen in all sports.

"People have died in games of soccer and their only protective gear is a pair of shin guards," the experienced regional administrator said.

"There's been cases in cricket where sides have adopted helmets and those sorts of things.

"Rugby league probably wears less protective gear than any game in the world and we've had tragic accidents in that.

"When you have a fairly large number of people playing a sport, the percentage of a tragic accident occurring is possible."

Rogers said the awful tragic accident in Western Australia happened in general play and wasn't a deliberate act or breaking the rules.

"As umpires, our overriding consideration on the field is the safety of players," Rogers said.

"The rules are in place to govern safety.

"Most of our interpretations now in the rule book centre around what is dangerous - like a raised ball, raised stick, tackling, coming in from the wrong side . . . all of those things.

"While we try to minimise the obvious danger as in how high a stick is raised, how high a ball is raised, when something comes up off her own stick, it would have happened in fractions of a second, and there's absolutely nothing you can do about it."

YOUR SAY

Should headgear be compulsory in hockey? Are any other player safety precautions needed?

Vote in our online poll or SMS your views to 0407 088442. Longer opinions can be emailed to: qtsport@qt.com.au



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