Behaviour and Equipment
Despite that the sport hurls a kilo of lead around a releatively confined space, injuries are really quite rare. The key danger players face is themselfes and what they do before and after they get out of the water.
What follows is a list of behaviours and equipment that will further minimise the chance of an injury at Monash.
This is without doubt your most important injury prevention item. I kilo of lead striking your hand will create damage. When an injury occurs is it almost universally associated with a glove that is in a sub standard state of repair i.e. gloves that are dilapidated and no longer offer the necessary protection. You should not chance playing with equipment that offers substandard protection. Either borrow a glove for the night, contact a suplier for a replacement, or get craking on makin a new one.
2. Mouth Guards
Dental and mouth injuries are unusually but have occured in state and national competitions. In recognition of this the Australian Underwater Federation (AUF) has deemed mouth guards as compulsory in competitions. Irrespective of what level you aspire to play at, a mouth guard is an inexpensive piece of insurance that will almost remove the possibility of dental injury.
3. Central Nervous System Depressants (CNSD)
Alcohol and cannabis depress your reaction time and create an exaggerated sense of your ability. The result is that you get yourself in situations that should be avoided and you lose the ability to react in away that preserves yourself. On top of this CNSD have a tendency to increase aggressiveness in some people and the mix can make for a caustic session at training.
If you must drink then choose to do so after the game. The general principle they work to in tiger land should be applied:
“If you drink and play, you’re a bloody idiot”.
4. Head High
Head injuries, like mouth injuries, can be completely eliminated if you maintain a playing position with the head held high (see image) and avoid sticking your head under peoples bodies to see what is going on. If you can maintain a head high playing position your reaction time and anticipation will improve making your game both safer and smarter.
Players have trademark moves. If you take the time to note what they are likely to do then your performance as an individual will reach a new standard and your ability to avoid dangerous situations will be greatly improved.
Our goals are both heavy and awkward and need to be manoeuvred in and out of a small door way. They have been dropped on feet in the past. If you are taking them out or putting them away, and are uncomfortable with their weight and size enlist a buddy for help.
Once the goals are out of storage they should either go directly into the water or be placed against the back wall. Leaving them at the pool edge while we attempt to take ropes out or when the public is still present is inviting a mishap.
7. Gear Area
Our current gear storage area is in the outside area behind the spa and sauna. This is a shared area with water polo and the store room is overly cluttered and contains a number or tripping hazards. The main hazard you need to be mindful of is the netting attached to the water polo goals. If you step on this netting you have a high probability of getting snagged. If you happen to be manoeuvre something heavy and awkward then your chances of coming out of that area unscathed will be compromised.
Pucks left on the pool grate are a potential hazard, If you step on one they slide right out from under foot sending you crashing to ground. Ideally, pucks should be placed at the safe spots (half way point on the long side of the pool), that area tends to be low use. Having a designated safe spot also makes the pucks easier to collect at the end of the session.
Pucks should not be left in high use areas, that is, anywhere along the short side of the pool or near the ladders.
At competitions subbing has produced spinal injuries wher playes would do standing leaps into the game. This prompted a rule change that moved the sub area to the side of the pool. For pragmatic reasons Monash continues to substitute from the end of the pool with the following condition - that substitutes ease themselves into the water rather than jump in.
10. In Water Behaviour
Underwater hockey is a non contact sport but as with all non contact sports there is always some type of physical engagement that occurs. If this physical engagement becomes brutal or excessive then it makes for an uncomfortable and dangerous session. Be mindful that Monash caters for a wide range of abilities experience, has both genders in the same session and does not use dedicated referees. Monash is also a club with a game that focuses on skill and intelligence rather than physical strength and power.
Pool Side Etiquette
Participants should gear up and down in the change rooms at all times, regardless of whether the pool is open to the public or not.
Participants should attempt to keep their gear collectively together and away from high use areas such as the ends of the pool or the ladder.