• An Unusual Case of a Facial Guard Causing Penetrating Soft Tissue Injury in the Game of Hurling

      Farrell, T; McDonald, C.; Sheehan, E. (Irish Medical Journal, 2019-02)
      Hurling is a fast-paced impact sport that is known to be associated with trauma to the head, face and hands1. Helmets with facial guards have been introduced by the Gaelic athletic association (GAA) in 2010 as a means of preventing head and maxillofacial injuries. Although the national safety authority of Ireland (NSAI) identify certain standards for hurling helmets, modifications are known to be quite common2. A recent study by O’Connor (2018) showed that 31% of players surveyed from a total of 304 had modified their helmet in some fashion either by changing the faceguard completely or removal of single bars. The main reasons given for modification were; restricted vision, comfort and perceived poor quality of the helmet/faceguard. Anecdotally, players may modify one’s helmet to help improve peripheral vision and thus situational awareness. In the literature, there exists only one case of penetrating injury from a facial guard of a hurling helmet3. The trend of modifying helmets seems to be increasing the incidence of these serious injuries. We believe that there is a general lack of awareness among players and officials as to the dangers of modifying protective equipment. We present the case of a penetrating hand injury as a direct result of a modified facial guard where a single bar was removed.