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FIH outlines face mask recommendations for recreational hockey return

Bedford HC players wear their new masks as part of our #watchyour1s competition prize in 2019 PIC: KATRINA HARRIS

By Rod Gilmour

World hockey says that grass-roots sides should have enough individual face masks at penalty corners to avoid sharing when the game returns following the coronavirus pandemic.

Some hockey nations are beginning to make inroads for the club game to return following months of fields being deserted of action.

And the International Hockey Federation (FIH) has outlined several pieces of advice to The Hockey Paper – primarily not to share any kit or equipment.

Dr Bibhu Kalyan Nayak, the FIH’s medical officer, told THP: “We do appreciate that masks are not a cheap piece of equipment and therefore not everyone will be able to purchase an individual mask. We recommend that only one player uses each mask during a match.

“In this situation, we advise that face masks are thoroughly cleaned prior to a match or training session, then labelled so that only one player uses each mask during the match or training session.

“The masks should then be cleaned after the match or training session in preparation for their next usage.

“Practically, this means a team needing enough masks for a match, with each one individually labelled, to ensure that there are enough individual masks for whoever is on the field of play when a penalty corner is awarded.”

The Hockey Paper has published several safety pieces in recent months, including dragflick hotshot Matt Guise-Brown believing that face masks should be made mandatory at PCs.

In the club game, there are many players who share masks – or who don’t even wear them at all at PCs.

In Holland, COVID-19 guidelines suggest that substitutes should clean each mask. But is this satisfactory?

Dr Nayak added: “It is an individual choice for players to wear a face mask when defending a penalty corner, but from a COVID-19 Health & Safety point of view, if players choose to use masks then FIH guidance is for each mask to only be worn by a single player during a match or training session.”

Read more on face masks and safety:

— Is the danger to players defending short corners a risk too far?

— Why the 2019 hockey rules are umpire friendly

— Hockey clubs need to report all injuries and concussion

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