We are all aware that field hockey is a contact sport, and as such, things like injuries are happening all the time. Ok, we have to say that most of them are not that serious, but concussions and broken bones can, and do, happen more than we would like to admit. Since, contacts with the stick or the ball are sometimes unavoidable, fractures of the fingers, wrists, or hands, are more than possible. And in the case when the ball hits a player in the face, broken jaws, cheekbones, teeth and even eyes are unfortunately the injuries that can occur.
When it comes to field hockey, for the team that is attacking, the one of the most important set plays is the short corner, and the most chosen shot-on-goal technique is the drag-flick. When a drag-flick is the first strike, there is no maximum ball height limit. When done properly, it is really breathtaking and in certain circumstances, it can be a game changer.
Why wear a face mask?
But, there is a downside of drag-flicks. As you can see in the video, the defenders stand in the goal, and when the ball is going, sometimes over 90 km/h, having time to get your face away from the ball is impossible. Having this in mind, it is not a surprise that many players choose to wear face masks to avoid getting injured. So, for those who want to find out more about best field hockey masks, why are they best, and which ones to choose, we suggest that you keep on reading.
In order for a mask to be among the best, it has to be made of high quality materials that will be able to withstand high pressure during a hit, it should not fog up during the game, and it should have great ventilation that allows air to circulate and allow players to breath normally. Furthermore, should not the voice, so that other players can hear you when you shout out something important, and your field of view has to stay unaltered. Also, it has to form a perfect grip with your face, and it has to be comfortable. Face masks are made for a one size fits all. However they may come in junior and senior sizes which will reflect the size of your face. You should ensure the fit covers as much of the head as possible but still having clear vision. In the above photo we can see the first runner (on left) has a smaller face mask than the third runner. Notice how much exposure to getting hit is between the two. This is why it is recommended to cover as much as possible. Finally comfort is everything. You may need to try on different brands to see which one fits the profile of your face the best. Face masks manufacturers must meet FIH standards which for this writer need to be updated to ensure standards and testing procedures will ensure the least likely hood of causing injury upon impact.
Of the major recommended brands of face masks in the southern hemisphere that players claim to be comfortable, resistant to fogging up, easy for communication and have good vision.
Mazon Proforce Face Mask
It has full face coverage this high impact resistant polycarbonate shell comes with dual density foam padding. The inner layer is high density to absorb impact while the outer layer provides exceptional player comfort. The Adjustable 2″ Strap system will allow for quick preparation as well as quick removal after the corner. One Size fits all. Mazon offers a smaller face mask – Mazon Club Face Mask.
GRYPHON G MASK PRO
The Gryphon G Mask Pro is a necessity for penalty corner defense the world over, regardless of level. It features a tough plastic guard and protective high density foam to ensure your face is protected against impact from the ball or stick. The Gryphon G Mask Pro allows for even better vision without compromising protection. The extended eye pockets make vision at your feet much easier. It has adjustable elastic head straps for a perfect fit and is lightweight for optimal use. The mask offers good neck protection. It comes in a range of colours other than the clear. Gryphon offers a smaller face mask – the Gryphon G Mask
Obo OOP Face Off
OBO, who is a renowned goalkeeping specialist manufacturer has developed a face mask that combines energy-absorbing closed cell foam and high tensile steel wire that offers a good level of protection especially for the forehead. The open wire concept means there is nothing to scratch or fog up. Visibility is good, especially if the ball is at your feet, but may not suit those who do not like the wire protection concept. It does offer some ear area protection which is highly important if you by chance turn your head when about to receive impact. Obo offers a 12 month warranty.
Grays Hockey Face Mask
Similiar to the Mazon and Gryphon this face mask is made of high impact resistant polycarbonate and responsive foam shock absorbency. It is a one size fit all.
TK T1 Player Mask
Similiar to the Mazon and Gryphon this mask offers protection extends around forehead, chin and sides of the head. The foam inner has increased depth and improved shape for increased shock absorption. One size fits all too.
Which mask to pick? Ultimately you need to way up the features and try them all because let’s face it our faces are all different.