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Question Number: 22813

Law 4 - Players Equipment 2/12/2010

RE: Select High School

Natalie of Atlanta, Georgia USA asks...

I had ACL reconstruction surgery a year ago. I was given a Donjoy brace which I absolutely swear by. However, in some select games referees have told me to cover the brace (it is partly metal), and others have let it go uncovered. Is the cover required at the high school level? I like the brace, but the cover is very constricting, and it feels like it affects my game. Thanks.

Answer provided by Referee Steve Montanino

HS rules...

Rule 4-2-1: Types of equipment which are illegal include, but are not limited to: ( f ) Knee braces with exposed metal. Any covering/sleeve made by a brace manufacturer may be worn.

So in HS you must have the covering for your brace if metal is exposed.

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Answer provided by Referee Michelle Maloney

NFHS rules say the brace must be either padded or if it comes with a sleeve, the sleeve must be worn. Unless your state uses different rules for HS, the referees who let you wear it without the sleeve are not following correct procedure.

In games other than high school, whether you wear the cover or not will depend on two things: 1) does the soccer association have a rule requiring the sleeve to be worn, or no rule at all; 2) the referee always has the power to require you to wear the sleeve if she feels the brace poses a danger to you or to any other player without the sleeve.

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Answer provided by Referee Keith Contarino

Hi Natalie. You have to follow HS rules so you have to cover it. GYSA rules state no casts but it's generally understood that no metal is allowed anywhere and most of us in the Atlanta area would not allow you to play with any exposed metal

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Answer provided by Referee Gene Nagy

Natalie, just think about who would get hurt on a knee to knee collision: a person wearing a hard brace with metal or a player with bare naked knees. We do not need 'rules' for this; it is not rocket surgery...

I make people cover hard plastic braces, not just the ones with metal in them. I have seen people use these as weapons of messy destruction. I am sure it did not even cross your mind to use it for that purpose but not all female soccer players are made of nice, gentle, fair play Natalies. But I am from Canada where the women are strong, the men good looking and children above average. (Borrowed from Garrison Keillor, Prairie Home Companion)

As for the referees, who sometime allow you to play without padded protection are the ones, who have not seen the damage these braces can do if worn by an aggressive player. I have seen blood and gore, really! Keep in mind soccer is a contact sport.

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