Field hockey captain seeks change, recalls harrowing incident involving boy on girls team in letter to MIAA

A high school field hockey player called on the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) to make a change after an incident during a match last week.

During a playoff game on Thursday night between Dighton-Rehoboth Regional High School and Swampscott High School, a girl on the Dighton-Rehoboth team suffered “significant facial and dental injuries” that “required hospitalization” after she took a shot to the face from a male from Swampscott.

The play caused significant outrage on social media. But the MIAA allows males and females to participate in the other gender’s sports if it is not made available to their own. Thus, a male may participate in field hockey, which is generally a sport for female athletes.

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Because of the rules, Dighton-Rehoboth field hockey captain Kelsey Bain wrote a letter to the MIAA to call on the organization to make a change in the wake of the furor over the incident. She wrote that the “MIAA needs to do better.”

The MIAA didn’t immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment on Bain’s letter.

Bain cited an article from the New Boston Post that said there were 41 boys who played on girls field hockey teams during the 2019-20 school year. Bain suggested the MIAA makes a new league.

“There is likely more interest, but the stigma of boys playing on a girl’s team is probably a deterrent,” Bain wrote. “I am sure school districts can institute co-op teams to create further opportunities for males to play in their own division, which I assume you are already aware of because, under rule 34 of the MIAA handbook, there is a division for boys’ field hockey listed under the Fall Sports category.

“You have a chance to change the negative publicity the MIAA has been receiving due to the incident that happened on Thursday night by moving forward with the proposal for a seven versus seven boys league.”

Bain recalled the horror she and her teammates felt when they saw the incident unfold.

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“The shrieks and screams of fear and pain that projected from her after being hit filled the stadium,” Bain wrote. The looks of horror and shock on the faces of the girls surrounding her were also chilling.”

“Following the injury, my teammates were sobbing not only in fear for their teammate but also in fear that they had to go back out onto the field and continue a game, playing against a male athlete who hospitalized one of our own. The traumatic event sheds light on the rules and regulations of male athletes participating in women’s sports.”

The MIAA cites the Massachusetts Equal Rights Amendment, which was adopted in 1976, that discriminates based on gender. It was extended to scholastic sports three years later.

The MIAA said they “understand” safety concerns but that wanting inclusion has trumped it.

“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 MIAA said in a statement. “The arguments generally fail due to the lack of correlation between injuries and mixed-gender teams.”

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In response to the MIAA’s statement, Bain wrote that the “causation is not addressed.”

“We all witnessed the substantial damage that a male has the ability to cause against a female during a game,” Bain wrote. “How much longer does the MIAA plan on using girls as statistical data points before they realize that boys do not belong in girls’ sports? Twenty injuries? One hundred? Death?”

Bain went on to say that high school field hockey rules were created for girls to play against girls.

“Altering the rules and equipment to adapt to gameplay involving boys is not only an inconvenience, but it comes with a physical and emotional cost for players who are forced to change the game they love,” she added. “By trying to create equality, you are only creating inequalities.”

“Please use this as an opportunity to take a negative incident and turn it into a positive change.”

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