Field Hockey

General Principles


  • Oldest known stick and ball game in history, existing in the BC era

  • Became a popular British sport in 1861, entering as an outdoor Olympic sport for males in 1908 and for females in 1980

  • Primarily an outdoor sport, indoor field hockey (FH) is becoming more popular, with an Indoor Hockey World Cup in place since 2003. While both bear many similarities, this chapter is specific to outdoor FH.


  • Stick: Consists of a handle and “ J -” or “ U -” shaped curved head; flat only on the left-hand side; maximum length of 41 inches; made of composite materials

  • Ball: Spherical, hard, and smooth (indentations permitted); circumference between and inches; weight between and ounces (slightly larger than a baseball)

  • Goal cages: 7 feet high, 12 feet wide, and 4 feet deep; consists of posts and surrounding nets; 18-inch high side- and back-boards are positioned inside the bottom

  • Outdoor field/pitch: Artificial turf or grass; measures 100 yards long by 60 yards wide; divided by a centerline and 25 yard lines on each side; “circles” are marked 16 yards from each goalpost. Penalty spots are marked 7 yards from the center of each goal-line. Artificial turf is water- or sand-based for player safety (allowing slide with stop) and improved flow of game (providing a smooth, faster surface).

  • Goalkeeper: Footwear, kickers, leg guards, and headgear with fixed full-face protection and circumferential cover (international); throat, chest, and hand protectors (college); and wrap around the throat protector and attached mouth guard (high school [HS]) ( Fig. 70.1 )

    Figure 70.1

    Players during competitions exemplifying protective gear worn by the goalkeeper and field player.

    (Courtesy of Mark Campbell, University of Delaware Athletics.)

  • Field players: Footwear, shin guards, mouth guards (international and college), and eye protectors (HS); flat, conforming face masks may be worn for defending penalty corners. NCAA players may wear soft-covered frame goggles with a plastic (not caged) frame. Soft headgear may be worn at all levels. Left-handed foam padded gloves are encouraged but not mandatory.

Basic Rules of the Game

  • Two 35- (international and collegiate) or 30-(HS) minute halves, with a 5- (international) or 10-minute (collegiate and HS) half-time officiated by two umpires

  • Up to 11 players per team, including a goalkeeper, whose presence is only required in HS. A minimum number of seven players are required in HS. Tied games in the NCAA go into overtime with each team consisting of seven players including a goalkeeper.

  • The ball can be touched only with the flat side of the stick and passed or dribbled down the field. The ball may be played above the shoulder as long as it is blocked to the ground and not hit in mid-air ( Fig. 70.2 ).

    Figure 70.2

    Permissible playing of a high ball being controlled to the ground.

    (Courtesy of Mark Campbell, University of Delaware Athletics.)

  • All players must have an equal chance to play the ball and may not shield the ball with their body or stick. Players cannot intentionally come into physical contact with an opponent’s body or stick. Players may not intentionally raise the ball off of the ground in a manner deemed dangerous to surrounding players.

  • No offside rule, and self-pass is allowed to restart play.

  • Penalties/fouls occur only when a player or team has been disadvantaged by the opponent breaking the rules. Penalties include a free hit, penalty corner, and penalty stroke ( Fig. 70.3 ).

    Figure 70.3

    Defensive team flying out from the goal crease during penalty corners with protective equipment worn by the goalkeeper and field players.

    (Courtesy of Mark Campbell, University of Delaware Athletics.)

  • A goal is scored when the ball is played within the circle and crosses the goal-line.

Injury Epidemiology

  • Injury patterns found in FH are similar to other field based sports, except for a higher rate of hand/finger and head/face injuries compared to other stick-held sports.

    • The overall injury rate in 2004–2009 NCAA field hockey was 6.3 per 1000 AE (injuries per 1000 athletic exposures).

  • A majority of injuries occur during competition (2/3) and most occur within the circle (1/2).

    • Competition: 9.8 per 1000 AE

    • Practice: 5.1 per 1000 AE

  • Major international FH tournaments injury data demonstrate differences amongst women’s and men’s competition.

    • Women’s: 0.7 injuries per match

      • Head and face injuries are most common (40%–50%).

      • Most common mechanism of injury is an elevated ball (52%).

    • Men’s: 1.2 injuries per match

      • Head/face and lower extremity injury rates are equal (22%–28%).

      • Most common mechanism of injury is an elevated ball (37%).

        • Stick contact and player collisions also significantly contribute (25% and 23%, respectively) to injury.

  • NCAA injury data from 2004–2009 demonstrate:

    • 53% involve lower limb.

    • 13% involve upper limb.

    • 13% involve torso and pelvis.

    • 9% involve head, face and neck.

    • 6% are concussions.

  • NCAA 2009–2014 female sports-related concussion data indicated lower overall rates of concussion (4.2/10,000) compared with ice hockey, soccer, lacrosse, and basketball.

    • FH, however, had the highest overall rate of recurrent concussions in women’s sports (13.3%).

  • National Center for Catastrophic Sport Injury Research 1982–2013 data demonstrate:

    • One nonfatal catastrophic event at the college level

    • Three direct nonfatal catastrophic events at the HS level

      • One indirect fatality in 2007

    • No direct or indirect catastrophic injuries at either level since 2008

  • Injuries by playing position:

    • Goalies have highest injury rates of 0.58 injuries/athlete year.

    • Midfielders have 0.46 injuries/athlete year.

    • Forwards and defenders have equal rates at 0.36 injuries/athlete year.

      • Defenders have higher rates of lower limb injuries.

      • Forwards have higher rates of head and face injuries.

  • Activity at time of injury:

    • General field play 45.6%

    • Defending 22.5 %

    • Ball handling 7%

    • Blocking a shot 5.6%

    • Goaltending 4.2%

  • Time loss

    • A majority of injuries (32.2%) cause 3–6 days of time loss.

    • 13.1% of injuries result in ≥21 days of time loss.

Only gold members can continue reading. Log In or Register to continue

Jul 19, 2019 | Posted by in SPORT MEDICINE | Comments Off on Field Hockey
Premium Wordpress Themes by UFO Themes