A female student hockey player suffered horrific facial injuries after being struck by a shot from a male 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 Thursday 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.
In an email after the incident, Dighton-Rehoboth Superintendent Bill Runey told alarmed parents that the injury to their student ‘dramatically magnifies the concerns of many about player safety.’
Sickening footage showed the moment a male hockey player fires a full-force shot at a female opponent
The injured player immediately falls to the ground in agony, after suffering severe facial injuries including missing two teeth
Many viewers of the footage have reacted with fury at the male player’s presence on the field, due to the unfair physical advantage he holds after going through puberty.
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 4-year varsity player and a co-captain of the team, according to WCVB.
The athletic director’s stance that he is allowed to compete is correct under Massachusetts law, which has zero restrictions to preventing a male athlete from competing in female sports.
Other players could be seen rushing to the injured student’s side after she was hit by the ball
Players were seen consoling each other and visibly upset after witnessing the grisly injury
Amid the backlash, the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) issued a statement to explain the legal ground which allows males and females to play sport in alternatively-sexed teams.
‘Massachusetts General Law was originally enacted to protect students from discrimination based on sex, and later expanded to protect students based on gender identification,’ the MIAA statement read.
‘As a result of this law, and consistent with the interpretive guidance offered by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, athletic opportunities must be afforded to students in accordance with their identified gender, not necessarily their birth-assigned gender.’
In response, Runey said the law is clear but overlooks the potential for decreased player safety by allowing male players to compete against females.
‘For any male athlete that’s participating in a female sport, there are zero restrictions,’ he said.
‘So, I’m looking for the MIAA to facilitate some conversations to have some middle ground in terms of player safety.’
Dighton-Rehoboth Superintendent Bill Runey told alarmed parents that the injury to their student ‘dramatically magnifies the concerns of many about player safety’
He continued: ‘In speaking with a representative of the MIAA this morning, she shared that the MIAA handbook has a legal note explaining how the Massachusetts Equal Rights Amendment makes the participation of males on female teams legal.’
The superintendent said he decided to speak out after seeing ‘the horror in the eyes of our players and coached upon greeting their bus last night’, which he said is ‘evidence to me that there has to be a renewed approach by the MIAA to protect the safety of our athletes.’
Runey cited previous rules around girls’ volleyball to how the situation could be handled, where male players were allowed to compete but could not play on the front line ‘because their ability to spike the ball created a higher level of risk.’
Those conditions were deemed illegal and are no longer in effect, Runey added.