Soccer Referee Resources
Ask a Question
Recent Questions

RSS FEED Subscribe Now!

Q&A Quick Search
The Field of Play
The Ball
The Players
The Players Equipment
The Referee
The Other Match Officials
The Duration of the Match
The Start and Restart of Play
The Ball In and Out of Play
Fouls and Misconduct
Free Kicks
Penalty kick
Throw In
Goal Kick
Corner Kick

Common Sense
Kicks - Penalty Mark
The Technical Area
The Fourth Official
Attitude and Control
League Specific
High School

Common Acronyms
Meet The Ref
Contact AskTheRef
Help Wanted
About AskTheRef
Panel Login

Question Number: 31565

Law 4 - The Players Equipment 5/28/2017

RE: Competetive Under 17

Tracy atkinson of Castle Rock, CO United States asks...

My daughter is getting a cast for a radial buckle fracture. She is scheduled for regional tournament in Utah in 2 weeks.

Will the CastProtector product or something similar be allowed for playing? Bubble wrap?

I am not sure she can get a soft cast, might be fiberglass only. Getting it on Tuesday due to Holiday weekend.


Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Tracy
Hard casts are considered to pose a danger to players and are generally not permitted to be worn. The practice of padding a hard plaster cast does not reduce the element of danger of injury as a swinging heavy hard cast can still cause an injury.
Arms are used in a variety of ways such as shielding, balance while jumping, running etc. So there are many ways that a player can make contact on an opponent with a hard cast mostly by accident.
What can be worn is a soft cast and that can also be covered by bubble wrap / foam to augment the safety aspects but that is not essential. It is up to the individual referee on the day to decide if the soft cast poses no risk of injury.
Also a word of advice. A hard cast it is there to immobilize the arm and to help in the healing process. Playing sports during that time is really not advisable as it does strain the limb plus there is a serious risk of falling perhaps risking further injury or strain to the arm. In addition casts do not react well to moisture including sweat. If the cast gets damaged it may need to be redone.
Best wishes to your daughter for a speedy recovery.
BTW as a very young boy I had that same injury and boy did I still want to play. I did not get to play and it is a hazy memory now. I can remember impatience in getting the cast off so that I could get back to playing. The time does pass and playing the game is not so important at this time.

Read other questions answered by Referee Joe McHugh

View Referee Joe McHugh profile

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Tracy,
The length of time the cast is worn will vary depending on the severity of the fracture. A stable fracture, such as a buckle fracture, (also called torus) are defined as a compression of the bony cortex on one side with the opposite cortex remains intact it may require 3 to 4 weeks in a cast. You are giving your daughter just 2 to where if she falls onto that wrist /forearm could aggravate the injury perhaps develop into a more serious displacement Monteggia fracture with a 6 to 8 weeks recovery time.

A Buckle fracture occurs often when children fall, trying to catch themselves with an outstretched hand. For many, that tumble on the pitch, around the bases or off a bunk bed results in a "buckle fracture," a forearm/wrist injury traditionally treated with a cast. Now we do have modern medical alternatives.

Removable splints can be effective as casts and are often preferred by patients and their parents. Given they are waiting till Tuesday to apply a cast it is likely just a wrap on it currently so be sure it is effectively immobilized as THAT is the only TRUE way the fracture will heal ! Consult your doctor and weigh carefully the danger to your daughter's health as the 1st priority.

You cannot fault a referee trying to ensure that the player be safe as well as the surrounding players not be subjected to a free swinging weight attached to an arm even accidently smashing into another player. I suspect that if there is a cast it must be made out of materials the league or association has decided is effectively safe. The makeup of the cast & whether it will be considered as safe likely will be on the referee to decide at match time unless there is a clear league policy that permits certain types of splint or cast or brace or offers a policy of referee discretion.

My colleagues are not incorrect to highlight the dangers that wearing a cast creates. As a kid I would want to play regardless but the coach & parents need to make the hard choices. I know it seems unfair to the kids desperately wanting to play & feeling hard done by these niggle injuries . As an adult I can assure you those niggles' add up big time as we go forward in life.

Although personally I believe there are cast or splint materials available that can be safe if they are applied correctly, I think it unfair to put it on the referee to play the ultimate bad guy in the eyes of a player DESPERATELY wanting to play being given the ok by parents , coach then to eyeball the concerned referee trying to error on the side of safety who says no!


Read other questions answered by Referee Richard Dawson

View Referee Richard Dawson profile

Ask a Follow Up Question to Q# 31565
Read other Q & A regarding Law 4 - The Players Equipment

Soccer Referee Extras

Did you Ask the Ref? Find your answer here.

Enter Question Number

If you received a response regarding a submitted question enter your question number above to find the answer

Offside Question?

Offside Explained by Chuck Fleischer & Richard Dawson, Former & Current Editor of AskTheRef

This web site and the answers to these questions are not sanctioned by or affiliated with any governing body of soccer. The opinions expressed on this site should not be considered official interpretations of the Laws of the Game and are merely opinions of AskTheRef and our panel members. If you need an official ruling you should contact your state or local representative through your club or league. On AskTheRef your questions are answered by a panel of licensed referees. See Meet The Ref for details about our panel members.