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Question Number: 30766

Law 4 - Players Equipment 9/15/2016

RE: Recreational Under 11

Brooks of Bethlehem, PA Lehigh asks...

My daughter has been playing recreational soccer for about 4 years now, and has had glasses the entire time. She has worn them for every practice and every game, without any issues. Is it required that she wear a safety strap during games.

Answer provided by Referee Gary Voshol

She is probably not required to wear a strap - check your league rules to be sure - but it might be a good idea. Glasses falling off and getting smashed underfoot can be expensive.

She's probably getting to an age where you will want to consider prescription sports goggles. Some refs consider regular spectacles to be unsafe at any age. Others will allow younger children to wear regular glasses as long as they don't have any obvious sharp protrusions.

I wore glasses all my career as a ref. I've had them knocked off, bent, and popped out a lens when I was hit by the ball. And that's when I'm trying to get away from the ball. When players start heading the ball, it could be much easier for glasses to be broken or knocked off.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Brooks,

I think the main point to consider here is safety. The Laws of the Game state that:

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

Now, there are various different kinds of glasses and lenses so if your daughter is wearing glasses specifically designed for sports use, everything may be just fine. If on the other hand, they are 'regular' spectacles with hard frames and/or breakable lenses then in my experience those are inherently unsafe - and I have the scars to prove it.

When I was at school, we used to play 'kickaround' games in the school playground and on two occasions I was hit in the face by the ball, leaving me with blood pouring from cuts on the bridge of my nose and/or eyebrow area (being young and stupid, I continued to play in these games even after having been injured the first time). Luckily, the glass lenses never did shatter but I shudder to think what might have happened if they had done (it was actually the frames that caused the damage).

So just to sum up, as mentioned, I still have the scars (albeit relatively small ones) to attest to the fact that regular spectacles, in my considered opinion, are just not safe enough to be worn while playing football (soccer).

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Brooks
I was working recently on an outboard fishing boat engine and I required a replacement part. I located a supplier who had a warning posted on top of his instructions how to change the part. I quote
**Notes on Safety - Always use eye protection, There are no workshop manuals here for eye repairs and replacements are not available ! **
My refereeing background immediately had me thinking about soccer and eye injuries. When it comes to wearing glasses in soccer there is an inherent risk of getting hit with the ball and as players get older by other players. It is for that reason that the safety sports goggles were introduced for those that cannot wear soft contact lenses. The frames of regular glasses can break and cause puncture wounds. Modern lenses are now plastic and do not break easily so that has been a huge improvement.
Now I know many referees will not allow players to play with regular glasses. Period
Like Referee Grove a friends son got hit recently with a ball in the schoolyard on a kick about breaking the frames and giving him a small cut. While not serious it certainly highlighted the inherent danger of the frames causing injury.
My advice is that if your daughter must wear glasses buy her sports goggles. It also causes less hassle with referees should they not allow regular glasses to be worn during competitive games.

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