Since 2000 the ECB has issued safety guidance on the wearing of helmets by young players up to the age of 18.
This guidance applies to all players up to the age of 18, both in open age group cricket and in all junior cricket played with a hard cricket ball. The guidance also applies during all practice sessions. Any individual taking responsibility for players should take all reasonable steps to ensure this guidance is followed at all times.
With the assistance of schools, cricket clubs leagues and umpires, the wearing of helmets by young players is now standard practice in cricket throughout England and Wales. Helmets are widely available and are covered by a British Standard (BS7928:1998) and a new specification, for head protectors on sale from Spring/Summer 2014 (BS7928/2013) – see below.
A face protector represents an alternative head protection system for young wicket keepers. Wicketkeeper face protectors are covered by British Standard (BS7929 –
Helmets with a faceguard or grille should be worn when batting against a hard cricket ball in matches and in practice sessions. Wicket keepers should wear a helmet with a faceguard, or a wicketkeeper face protector, when standing up to the stumps.
All young players should regard a helmet with a faceguard as a normal item of protective equipment when batting, together with pads, gloves and, for boys, an abdominal protector (box). All young wicketkeepers should regard a helmet with a faceguard or a face protector as a normal part of their protective equipment together with pads, gloves and, for boys, an abdominal protector (box).
There is no exception to be granted in this regard, in any form of cricket.
The ECB asks that this guidance is communicated to the parents, or guardians, of all young players through clubs and schools, and that young players are not allowed to bat or stand up to the stumps when keeping wicket against a hard ball without wearing appropriate protection.
Update: In March 2014 the following guidance was issued. This applies to head protectors worn by all cricketers.
NEW CRICKET HEAD PROTECTOR TESTING STANDARD (More commonly known as the Helmet testing standard)
The ECB, PCA and the ICC have worked with BSi and head protector manufacturers to develop a new specification for the testing of head protection for cricketers. This specification [was] approved by BSi Group, which is the national body responsible for producing appropriate safety standards in the UK.
With cricketers and bowling machines able to deliver cricket balls at high speeds, and given the obvious importance of protecting against head injuries wherever possible, head protectors are an essential part of a cricketer’s kit.
It is important that individuals understand how the new specification [has applied] to head protectors on sale from Spring/ Summer 2014.
The key features of the new specification, BS7928:2013, are:
1. it now includes a facial contact projectile test that assesses for penetration of the ball through the faceguard, and contact of the faceguard onto the face, using realistic ball impact speeds and conditions; and
2. head protectors have been tested separately against men’s and junior sized cricket balls (a five-and-a-half ounce ball and a four-and-three-quarter ounce ball, respectively).
Head protectors that have been tested against the new standard will be clearly labelled with “BS7928:2013” and will contain clear labelling setting out whether a head protector has been tested against (i) men’s standard ball size of 5 ½ ounces, (ii) junior standard ball size of 4 ¾ ounces, or (iii) both men’s and junior size balls.
The manufacturers have advised that there is currently no specific women’s head protector and so there is no specific standard for women’s cricket head protectors. As the size of the standard women’s cricket ball is between the standard men and junior balls, it is recommended that women use head protectors that have been tested against both the men’s and junior sized ball or at least against the junior size ball (as the smaller ball could potentially get through the gap above the face guard on a men’s head protector).
From 30 June 2014, the old BSI standard for cricket head protectors (BS7928:1998) [was] withdrawn and the ECB therefore recommends that all new head protectors brought to market are tested against the new standard.
However, head protectors which have already been tested against the old standard can and will continue to be available for sale and will not be withdrawn from the market.
In light of this, the ECB has issued this guidance to ensure that the public understands the meaning and merits of the new specification (and consequent labelling that will soon be introduced) and therefore to enable the public to make an informed decision as to which head protector to use.
Finally, whilst the ECB considers that head protectors are an essential part of a cricketer’s kit to mitigate the risk of injury, it must be remembered that wearing a head protector and faceguard (whether or not it has been tested against the new standard) cannot always prevent death, injury or disability.
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