Maine HS Field Hockey Programs at Odds with Goggle Mandate

September 28, 2021 / Athletic AdministrationCoachingPlayer Safety
In 2020, the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) revised its rules for the sport of field hockey, no longer requiring players to wear protective goggles during competition — leaving the choice up to the player. Maine is one of three states to require goggles during field hockey games, leaving players and coaches in the Pine Tree State to wonder if the enforcement creates another series of injury risks.

In a recent story from, field hockey student-athletes and coaches say the use of goggles can restrict peripheral vision and lead to the possibility of collisions and injuries.

maine“It’s a topic I go back and forth with,” Mary Beth Bourgoin, who has been coaching Winslow High’s field hockey team since 2006, told “I know there have been injuries caused by the goggles. But I also know there have been injuries saved by the goggles.”

The rule was originally put in place in an effort to reduce orbital injuries. And of the 16 states that offer field hockey, Maine joins Massachusetts and Rhode Island as the only states requiring goggles while the other 13 states follow NFHS’s current recommendation of leaving the option up to the student-athletes.

Below is an excerpt from’s story.

Dr. William Heinz, chairman of the Maine Principals’ Association’s (MPA) Sports Medicine Committee, served on the national federation’s medical advisory board when it mandated the use of goggles in 2011. He said safety is the only factor the principals’ association is considering when requiring its players to continue to wear the goggles.

“We have a way to protect those girls and we’re going to do it,” said Heinz. “We’re not going to back down on that as long as I’m chair of the (MPA’s) Sports Medicine Committee.”

Players don’t hide their feelings about the mandate.

“I personally don’t like the goggles,” said Gorham sophomore midfielder Hannah Bickford, who recently was one of three Mainers to play in the U.S. Field Hockey NexUS championships. “I feel it’s a barricade to seeing where the ball is.”

In the fall of 2019, the most recent year for participation data, 2,054 girls played high school field hockey in Maine. Seventy-seven teams are playing the sport this fall across the state.

To read the full story from about the goggle mandate during field hockey competition, click here