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Question Number: 32455

Law 4 - The Players Equipment 5/18/2018

RE: Competive Under 12

Lilly of Menlo Park, California America asks...

So I broke my finger and I have a metal splint. I have a soccer tournament this weekend and I was wondering if I can play with the splint on and wrap it up.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Lily
It very much depends on the referee on the day. Perhaps if it is well wrapped with soft foam material it might pass although I would say that the hard metal part makes it a risk and therefore a referee would be less likely to allow it. The referee would certainly be supported in law if he deemed it dangerous.
Some Leagues spell out what is permissible. A search of the web shows one US Leagues answer
** Q. My child is in a cast or splint - can he/she still play if I wrap it in bubblewrap?
A. Hard casts or splints are not permitted, even if wrapped in soft material. The following items are permitted: knee braces, finger splints, leather wrist/ankle supports. **
As Referee Grove points out playing with an injury may not be the best choice. The splint is there to assist healing and for the finger to be protected. Playing sports opens the possibility of aggravating the injury.








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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Lilly,
Unless as ref McHugh mentions, the competition organisers have set specific guidelines, the Laws of the Game simply say that:

''A player must not use equipment or wear anything that is dangerous.''

It is left up to the referee to decide whether something is dangerous or not. Incidentally the danger can also be to the player themselves - for instance if you have a broken finger, even with a splint on it, there is a risk that the finger could be injured further if you fall awkwardly, are involved in a collision or if a hard-struck ball hits it.

I'm not a medical professional and I haven't seen the splint in question so I can't say if it is designed to be worn while playing sports but I would perhaps mention that when my own daughter had a thumb injury and was wearing a light splint that would not have posed a risk to other players, we thought it better for her not to play until the injury was completely healed and the splint had been removed. I could be accused of being overly cautious, but I've always tended towards the view that it's not worth the risk of returning to play too early which can lead to aggravating an injury, causing an even longer absence from playing.



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