- Massachusetts superintendent Bill Runey is calling for change in the MIAA law that allows men and women to participate in the other gender ‘s sports
- The demand comes after footage of a male hockey player striking and causing horrendous facial injuries to his female opponent went viral
- Runey has not yet taken his demand to city council or put on paper
A Massachusetts superintendent is demanding law changes after a male hockey player caused horrendous facial injuries to a female opponent.
Footage of the horror accident saw the woman collapse and scream in agony after the ball hit her face, with the male player’s participation sparking backlash despite being allowed under Massachusetts law.
The incident occurred between two varsity teams at Swampscott High School and Dighton-Rehoboth Regional High School, with the former coming out on top thanks to two goals scored by the male player.
Viewers have reacted with immense fury and criticized the law that allows men and women to participate in the other gender‘s sports if it is not made available to their own.
In this case, the male player can play field hockey in the women’s team because it is traditionally a female sport.
This gender-neutral law has not only invited criticism from locals but now city officials.
Following the incident, Superintendent Bill Runey of Dighton-Rehoboth – the school the injured player was from, sent an email to alarmed parents advising the event ‘dramatically magnifies the concerns of many about player safety’.
He is now calling for a change in the rule that has been in place since the 1970s.
Runey said in a statement: ‘Last night, a female field hockey player for the Dighton Rehoboth Regional High School girls’ field hockey team sustained significant facial and dental injuries when she was struck in the face by a shot in the third quarter versus Swampscott in an MIAA (Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association) state playoff contest.
‘The shot was taken by a male member of the Swampscott girls field hockey team. This injury required hospitalization.
‘The player, her family, teammates and coaches remain in my prayers.
‘While I understand that the MIAA has guidelines in place for co-ed participation under section 43 of their handbook, this incident dramatically magnifies the concerns of many about player safety.’
The MIAA has hit back at Runey and stated that the 1976 Massachusetts Equal Rights Amendment prohibits sex-based discrimination. The Amendment was extended to cover scholastic sports in 1979.
They said: ‘The court determined that a blanket rule prohibiting boys from playing on girls teams, where there was no equivalent boys team, violated the ERA.
‘We respect and understand the complexity and concerns that exist regarding student safety. However, student safety has not been a successful defense to excluding students of one gender from participating on teams of the opposite gender.
‘The arguments generally fail due to the lack of correlation between injuries and mixed-gender teams.’
But the MIAA’s statement was not enough to convince Runey. He said that while altering the Massachusetts ERA would be difficult, action must be taken to ensure player safety.
‘Seeing the horror in the eyes of our players and coaches upon greeting their bus last night is evidence to me that there has to be a renewed approach by the MIAA to protect the safety of our athletes,’ he said.
In the footage, a female player from Dighton-Rehoboth passed the ball to their male teammate, who controlled it before releasing a vicious shot.
The ball immediately struck an opponent across the face, leaving her with grisly facial injuries, including losing two teeth, that sent her to the hospital. Her condition is unclear.
Shocked teammates could be seen leaning their hands on their knees and comforting each other after witnessing the grisly injury.
Despite the harrowing scenes, the male player’s place on the team was defended by Swampscott Public Schools Athletic Director Kelly Wolff, who said he has ‘the exact same right to participate as any player on the team.’
Wolff identified the player, who is not believed to be transgender, as a four-year varsity player and a co-captain of the team, according to WCVB.
Runey’s demand for change has not yet been taken to city council or put on paper. It is unknown if the male player has suffered any consequences for his actions.