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Question Number: 31745

Law 4 - The Players Equipment 8/31/2017

RE: Competitive College

Wayne smith of Auckland , New zealand asks...

What are the rules on a player playing with a broken wrist

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Wayne
Usually when a wrist is broken the arm is immobilised by a hard cast. Such a hard cast would be dangerous to other players as no matter how careful the player is there is real danger of the cast hitting an opponent. Covering it with some softer material might be an option for some referees yet it may incur the ire of opponents. So a referee would normally not allow a player to play with a hard cast
Now later in the healing process the wrist may be placed in a soft cast or splint. That would be allowed as it is not dangerous. Some players may also wrap it with a soft covering for added protection
As regards playing my advice is to allow time for the wrist to heal. The wrist is immmobilised by the cast so why risk further damage by running or falling on it. Casts are unpleasant to wear particularly when the person sweats which can cause itchiness etc. I broke my wrist as a young boy playing soccer and I could not play for a number of months. I still have the memories of that time. Nearer the end of the healing period I did play with my friends in the street and the cast was pretty banged up by the time it was removed. By that time I had no pain and it was time for it to come off anyway.
So my advice is to give the body time to heal. The time to play will come around pretty soon.

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Answer provided by Referee Gary Voshol

Some competition rules will allow players with casts to play, as long as it is sufficiently padded. The definition of enough padding to make it safe is up to the referee. I have had one or two instances where I allowed the padded cast. But I warned the player that if I thought the cast was being used as a club, even inadvertently, the player would have to sit out. Even padded, an arm with a cast is heavier than a bare arm. Although the lighter weight fiberglass casts being used these days are much better than the old plaster casts.

However, please consider why you might want to play with a broken wrist. Most likely the wrist was broken because of a fall, although it could have been broken by being hit or smashed. Would you really want to risk falling and re-injuring the wrist?

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Wayne,
a smart rule is do not play until it is better but no one said genius were running around soccer fields. So if it is a soft cast or specially made for sports play as long it is not used inappropriately the referee does have discretion to allow it.

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