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  #1 (permalink)  
Old Wed Jan 23, 2008, 10:37am
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Pre-game Convo With Parent

During warm-ups of my BV game last night, the R & I noticed a player wearing a protective brace on one of his hands. we called him over, looked at it, deemed it to be too hard (it had 2 separate metal rods for support in it) and restrictive and asked that he take it off and have his hand taped (if he wanted). he had no issue with it and neither did the coach.
Apparently his father was in the stands and he politely comes down and asks me about the brace. Here is a brief synopsis of the discussion (it appears long but it was literally 30-45 seconds):

Father: what's wrong with my son's brace?
Me: its too restrictive
Father: did they change the rule? I had (insert high level observer as a name drop) and (insert assignor's name as a name drop) look at it and they said it was fine.
Me: We'll my partner and I feel its too hard and restrictive.
Father: do you want me to go get the rule book?
Me: no, but i appreciate the offer. We need to worry about the other 9 players on the court also, not just your son.
Father: well i'm worried about his hand. he's played 18 games with it on, are you saying the other 36 officials were wrong?
Me: I don't know what the other 36 officials did. I know he can't play this game tonight with the brace on.
Father: what's your name?
Me: (silence)
father: you can't tell me your name?
Me: if you have an issue, you should call (insert previously name dropped assignor's name here) and tell him the officials on this game wouldn't let your son play with the hand brace on.
Father: (walks away)

Has this type of thing happened to anyone else during warm-ups? I initially wanted to ignore him completely, but he was polite (for the most part). You never know who is watching (from an observer/assignor standpoint) and i don't want to come off wrong by having a conversation with a parent. I honestly have no idea if i did the right or wrong thing by entertaining this guy. Part of me feels like i shoudve ignored him completely.
I'm open for suggestions.
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Old Wed Jan 23, 2008, 10:41am
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Where was the player's coach during all this?
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Old Wed Jan 23, 2008, 10:43am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grunewar
Where was the player's coach during all this?
it was during warm-ups and he was speaking with the other coach i believe. the coach didn't have an issue with it. infact, he didn't even ask us about it.
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Old Wed Jan 23, 2008, 10:52am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psujaye
Me: We'll my partner and I feel its too hard and restrictive.
Me: It's got metal in it.

Any guard,cast or brace with metal in it is always illegal.... up the elbow. Above the elbow, it must be padded.
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Old Wed Jan 23, 2008, 10:54am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jurassic Referee
Me: It's got metal in it.

Any guard,cast or brace with metal in it is always illegal.... up the elbow. Above the elbow, it must be padded.
Yes, I agree, i don't know why i used 'hard and restrictive' vs. 'it has metal in it'. I'm not sure if that had an impact on how the rest of the conversation went.
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Old Wed Jan 23, 2008, 11:12am
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You didn't hurt anything by talking with the dad. Your only other alternative would have been to ignore him or turn and walk away from him or something equally rude - would that have helped the situation or only made it worse? Seems to me like you handled it well. If the guy gets belligerent, walk over to the table, get game management and let them deal with it.

I would be calling the (insert twice previously name-dropped assignor here) and asking him if he actually did approve the brace. If he did, ask why? If he didn't, he probably wants to know that there is some schmuck out there saying he did.
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Old Wed Jan 23, 2008, 11:19am
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From the description, it sounds like an illegal brace. However, if, for some reason, it is legal, the team should have a letter from the state high school association (that's what we do in Ohio). If they can produce the letter, let him play.

I had a game last year where a girl was permitted to play with an "illegal" headband (yellow headband, purple jersey). When we asked her to remove it before the game she told us it was a protective headband (it was) because she had a couple concussions during the soccer season. Her coach had the letter from the state saying it was okay for her to wear it.

My daughter's teammate on the high school soccer team played with a hard protective mask after breaking her nose. Before their letter from the state arrived, she was not allowed to play in a game because the officials said it was illegal.

Just my two cents worth...
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Old Wed Jan 23, 2008, 11:21am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rockyroad
I would be calling the (insert twice previously name-dropped assignor here) and asking him if he actually did approve the brace. If he did, ask why? If he didn't, he probably wants to know that there is some schmuck out there saying he did.
Good point. I would have also told the dad that *in my judgement* the brace is unsafe *because* whatever. This derails the "well they let me do it yesterday" and "let's look at the rulebook" parts of the discussion. I would have also told him if his contacts think the brace is safe he should have gotten that in writing for the coach to provide.

I also agree you done good by talking to the dad.
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Old Wed Jan 23, 2008, 12:10pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daveg144
From the description, it sounds like an illegal brace. However, if, for some reason, it is legal, the team should have a letter from the state high school association (that's what we do in Ohio). If they can produce the letter, let him play.
Under what NFHS rule do state associations get to determine whether a brace or similar item is legal? The only things I find the NFHS rules allowing is for a state association to approve use of artificial limbs (3-5-1 Note) and head covering for medical, cosmetic or religious reasons (3-5-3 Exception.)

This is totally the officials' responsibility -- and as others have said -- only the officials working that game can make that decision. Ask anyone who officiates youth girls games about how many permutations there are to allowing earrings since "she has been allowed to wear them in every other game."

Last edited by BayStateRef; Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 12:13pm.
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Old Wed Jan 23, 2008, 12:13pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BayStateRef
Under what NFHS rule do state associations get to determine whether a brace or similar item is legal? The only things I find the NFHS rules allowing is for a state association to approve use of artificial limbs (3-5-1 Note) and head covering for medical, cosmetic or religious reasons (3-5-3 Exception.)

This is totally the officials' responsibility -- and as others have said -- only the officials working that game can make that decision. Ask anyone who officiates youth girls games about how many permutations there are to allowing earrings since "she has been allowed to wear them in every other game."
There is no requirement that states follow the NFHS rules to the letter. Many states have exceptions to the rules...the way illegal uniform technicals are being handled state-to-state this year is a good example.

In reality, the state athletics associations are the final authority on the rules. View the NFHS as the vendor that supplies rules, and the states simply utilize their rules, but are free to make exceptions wherever they deem fit.
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Old Wed Jan 23, 2008, 12:23pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BayStateRef
Ask anyone who officiates youth girls games about how many permutations there are to allowing earrings since "she has been allowed to wear them in every other game."
A few years ago, I had a 6th grade girls game in our local kids rec league. It was their fifth game of the season. One girl had on taped-over earrings. I told her and her coach she could not play with the earrings on. The coach (who was her dad) said all the other refs that season allowed her to play with them on and taped. I told him that they were wrong and it wasn't going to happen here - period. I also thanked him for informing me of the error the others had made and that, since I was supervisor of officials, I would now fine each one of them. Of course, I knew they hadn't allowed this since it is a huge POE in our league, but he thought I was serious. He said "You can't do that - some of them are only HS kids and need the money." I said "Not only will I fine them, I might even fire some of the experienced ones for ignoring the rule when they knew better." Of course, I wasn't going to do any of this, but he turned bright red before he walked away.

I checked a few times during the rest of the season and that girl always had her earrings out at her games.
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Last edited by Mark Padgett; Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 01:00pm.
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Old Wed Jan 23, 2008, 12:24pm
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Had very similar situation earlier this month so I know how you feel. Freshman game, actually the team was from the town I live in and I knew some of the coaches and players. One guy had a huge pad on his elbow. I couldn't remember the exact rule and asked my partner what he thought. He stated that at an earlier game he allowed the same thing and the incoming JV ref's gave him grief about it.

So we went and talked to the kid and asked if he had a doctor's letter. Said he didn't but if this was illegal he has a sleeve to put over it no problem. We hemmed and hawed a moment but decided that it would be best to change. Went over to bench and explained to the coaches what was happening. One assistant who I knew was kind of disgusted and said "It's only a freshman game", my partner quickly replied "it's a high school game and we play by high school rules". So he changed. I could see who was probably his Mom nearby and was kind of disgusted. Hated to rock the boat and start the game like this but you never know.

Halftime we jumped right into the book, and, uh-oh, the rule says hard objects cannot be padded but no restriction on pads only (which it was). So, before the second half began, went over and apologized to the bench for our mistake and told him the pad would be okay. He chose not to change again. I just hoped he didn't fall to the floor in the second half, elbows first (he didn't).
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Old Wed Jan 23, 2008, 12:26pm
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You can always say: "Dad - I understand you want your son to be able to participate and the brace is for his benefit, but if any of the other 9 people on court get hurt because I allowed him to play with that brace, I am liable. In my judgement, the brace is illegal under the rules and the risk to others to great. You can make the decision to remove brace, tape and play or to not play.
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Old Wed Jan 23, 2008, 12:28pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rizzo21
but no restriction on pads
Especially in girls games.

OK, Juulie and Rita, I apologize.
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Old Wed Jan 23, 2008, 12:33pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psujaye
Yes, I agree, i don't know why i used 'hard and restrictive' vs. 'it has metal in it'. I'm not sure if that had an impact on how the rest of the conversation went.
Hard or metal, either one works for me especially when it is on the hand, wrist or elbow. All it takes is a kid to get knocked out or cut accidentally by it then you'll probably looking at some liability issues. Either way, I think you did a good job handling it. Me personally, I probably would've walked away after the first 5 words out of this parent's mouth. Usually when a parent is walking by or up to me, anything other than a greeting and have a good game, I would probably turn and walk away.
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