The dangers associated with wearing a defective hurling helmet were highlighted during a recent Dublin SHC fixture when a player almost lost his finger.
The St Oliver Plunkett’s Eoghan Ruadh player suffered a serious finger injury when he tackled an opponent who had a broken vertical bar in their faceguard.
During a collision between the two players, the finger of the St Oliver Plunkett’s Eoghan Ruadh hurler became skewered on the faceguard of his opponent’s helmet and could have resulted in the loss of a finger, but for the quick reactions of both players involved.
GAA.ie reports that this was the second significant injury suffered by a hurler from the St Oliver Plunkett’s club in recent times, as a result of coming into contact with an opponent’s defective helmet.
On that occasion, the player in question suffered an arm laceration from a broken bar.
Almost one-third of hurlers have admitted to modifying their helmet against GAA regulations, potentially increasing their injury risk.
Research entitled ‘Is Helmet and Faceguard Modification common in Hurling and why is it done?’, published earlier this year, found faceguard replacement to be the most common modification (80%), followed by removal of bars (13%), and bending of the bars on the faceguard.
The research said a rule change “such as mandatory checks on helmets and faceguards by referees prior to matches, to ensure no modifications have been completed, should be introduced, similar to the boots check completed in soccer”.
The study, carried out by the School of Health and Human Performance, Dublin City University, and the Department of Sport and Health Sciences, Athlone Institute of Technology, was the first to look at the prevalence of alterations in hurling helmets since their wearing became mandatory for all ages in 2010.
Almost half of the 304 players surveyed, know at least seven other players who modified their helmet.