(HealthDay News) — Among female high school field hockey players, implementation of a national mandate for protective eyewear (MPE) reduced the incidence of eye/orbital injuries and severe eye/orbital and head/face injuries, according to a study published online August 17 in Pediatrics.

Peter K. Kriz, MD, from the Warren Alpert Medical School at Brown University in Providence, RI, and colleagues analyzed girls’ field hockey exposure and injury data from national and regional high school sports injury databases. Information was obtained for two seasons before and two seasons after implementation of a national MPE.

The researchers found that states without MPE had significantly higher incidence of eye/orbital injuries compared to states with MPE before the mandate and in the post-mandate group (0.080 vs. 0.025 injuries per 1,000 athletic exposures [AEs]; odds ratio, 3.20; 95% confidence interval, 1.47–6.99). There was no between-group significant difference seen in concussion rates (odds ratio, 0.77; 95% confidence interval, 0.58–1.02). Severe eye/orbital injuries were reduced by 67% and severe/medical disqualification head/face injuries were reduced by 70% after the 2011/2012 MPE. Among girls’ sports included in the High School Reporting Information Online surveillance program, concussion rates for field hockey ranked third (0.335 per 1,000 AEs).

“Concussion remains the most common injury involving the head and face among female field hockey players, prompting further inquiry into potential effects of adopting protective headgear/helmets,” the authors write.

Full Text (subscription or payment may be required)