Is it time for hockey players to start wearing protection in the “sensitive parts”?

This is the story of Robert Martin, he is 24 years old and he plays for Anchor Hockey Club of Scotland. When he was playing a match against the Glasgow University he suffered a really bad injury when he took a straight shot straight to the male sensitive area, resulting in a rupture testicle.

“I had ran back to cover the defence, there was a clear overload of opposition players and the D was very crowded, the ball was passed across circle toward the back post where the striker received the ball. It got deflected off a foot on the way past and the umpire was about to blow his whistle, I found myself between my own goalkeeper and about 4 feet away from the striker, it all happened very fast but I remember I was rooted to the floor and with the striker getting a clean shot away I had no chance to move and my reaction never kicked in, this was when I took the hockey ball directly onto my males sensitive area, which resulted in a ruptured testicle.”

Robert spent 4 days in the hospital and received an operation. He thought about the risks of losing the testicle as it would be too damaged, luckily the surgeon was able to save it.

“I feel that it could have been prevented if I was wearing a box/protection, if shin guards are mandatory, why aren’t protecting something more important? I certainly will be wearing one from now on…”

Although even wearing a box might not have stopped total injury it may have slightly not made it so bad. Currently this is a personal choice of protection but Robert feels that we should raise  greater awareness within hockey.

“The road to recovery has been tough, like any sport person we are active and enjoy playing/training for our sport, I have not been able to do so. My profession keeps me active as I teach all day and this situation has totally reversed me from peak fitness to near enough incapable of many things. My main worry is getting back on the pitch normally, I would shake it off and get back into the thick of it, but my confidence is minimum, firstly as I have the hurdle of overcoming my fear and getting more confident to get back to pitch play.”

“I would request that the governing body make more awareness of the protection out there and promote people to wear it. I have played hockey for 12 years and apart from goalkeepers can’t honestly say I’ve came across anyone male who does wear one. I myself never though about it until this injury occurred but I can assure myself and you that I will be setting up some sort of awareness. In addition, I think that making sure that each player’s insurance covers this injury properly as I have now got a serious situation with no compensation. And also no compensation for loss of earnings, and in the time I have been off (thankfully back to work now) I lost out on approximately £1000.”

“The insurance broker that handle Scottish hockey said that he asked Scottish hockey for a copy of their policy was passed onto the insurance broker who then told me they didn’t have a copy. But basically told me I wasn’t covered because I wasn’t international or under 21. So really I’m paying insurance money for nothing, along with every other person under Scottish hockey.” He concluded.

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