The average speed of an indoor field hockey ball, when drag flicking, is upwards of 75 miles per hour. Avoiding the ball every time is almost impossible. Taking a ball to the head has the potential to shatter bones, or cause a serious brain injury. Dating back before ancient Olympic Games, field hockey is one of the oldest competitive sports; it has evolved tremendously since then. During ancient times, field hockey was considered too dangerous for women. Today, women play this thrilling game using stiff, composite, slightly curved sticks that range primarily from 35 to 39 inches long to hit a hard, plastic ball. For protection, all players must wear a mouth guard and shin guards. Many players choose to wear gloves, too, but they are not
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Generally, lifting is the easiest way to make a shot, and sticks tend to swing high once the ball is in the air. By wearing a face mask, the athletes’ faces are protected from contact with high sticks, and the mask reduces the impact of the ball should it hit the player’s head. Further, the chance of a concussion is greatly decreased. Concussions have the potential to seriously damage one’s quality of life. Complex concussions last for more than a week and can cause memory loss, unconsciousness, and, in the worst cases, death. Even a minor concussion can bench an athlete for at least a week.
Depending on the seriousness and the number a player receives over her field hockey career, concussions can cause both immediate discomforts and brain problems later in life. Soon after taking a blow to the head, a player may experience various symptoms such as mood swings, headaches, and dizziness. Other symptoms such as tinnitus, loss of concentration, slowed reaction time, and poor memory may also occur as short term problems. Eventually, though, as the brain heals, all of these effects will disappear. For many years, the effects of concussions later in life were primarily unknown. Recent studies show that some memory problems persist after concussions and may never completely fade away. Also, concussions at an early age may lead to Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.