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Question Number: 16211

Law 4 - Players Equipment 8/4/2007

RE: select Under 13

Ginger Parson of Des Moines, IA USA asks...

A player has a broken arm protected by a plaster cast. It is the responsibility of the referee to determine if the cast is dangerous to other players. Is this statement true or false?

Answer provided by Referee Michelle Maloney

It depends. Not trying to dodge the question, truly, but each state youth association usually has extra rules over and above what the Laws of the Game require regarding what players can and cannot wear. So, in some places, a hard cast is not allowed at all - true here in South Texas, which takes the decision out of the hands of the referee. In other states/associations, it remains up to the referee to decide if the item presents a danger to the player or to other players. Some require padding, like the National Federation of High School rules. It just really depends on the rules of the competition authority under which you are playing.

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Answer provided by Referee Ben Mueller

In WI all casts are illegal. This is up to the state association. On the USSF exam, there is/was a question about casts. At all costs, the referee must decide if equipment is safe or unsafe. Anything deemed dangerous, cannot be worn.

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Answer provided by Referee Chuck Fleischer

The whole point of a cast is to protect an injured bit. Those desiring to re-injure what ever it is are usually protected by good sense. In junior leagues state associations usually forbid competition by players wearing casts. When adults break something their doctors and good sense keep them off the field. The last line of defense is the referee and if she considers a cast dangerous it may not be worn on the field during competition.

The referee determines if it is dangerous to the player herself or to other players. The decision is final on the day.


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Answer provided by Referee Gary Voshol

Michigan does not have a blanket prohibition against casts. It is up to the referee to determine if the cast is safe.

Players have shown up without padding and I won't let them play until it is properly covered. Bubble wrap or foam, covered with tape, makes a pretty good pad. One kid, not prepared, did the best he could with a T-shirt and a towel.

Even if it is padded correctly, the arm with a cast has more mass than a normal arm. This is less of a concern with the light-weight fiberglass casts now, but they still weigh something. If the player is swinging the arm with the cast about like a club, I won't let it go on. He will be told that he can't take any further part in the game, coach can we please have a substitute? I let the players know this when I am checking them in.

I will also ask the player (or parents, for the younger kids) if the doctor said it was OK for her to play. Of course they will answer yes, but at least I asked, letting them consider the consequences. Under High School rules, I believe a release from the doctor is required to partipate.

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Answer provided by Referee Keith Contarino

It's true and false. ANYTHING has to be considered safe by the referee in order to be allowed. That said, the state of Georgia and other states have deemed NO CASTS, period, so even if the referee believes the cast to be safe, he/she may not allow any player to play with one regardless of padding, notes from his doctor, pleading parents etc.

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Ask a Follow Up Question to Q# 16211
Read other Q & A regarding Law 4 - Players Equipment

The following questions were asked as a follow up to the above question...

See Question: 16390

See Question: 20657

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