Q. Where can I find guidance on the policy on Helmets?
A. Bye Law 4.2 governs this subject.
Q. Who needs to wear a helmet?
A. All people under the age of 17 must wear a helmet in any event run under the auspices of the Camanachd Association.
Q. Is the wearing of helmets linked to age or to the type of competition?
A. The criteria are age on the day of participation, not competition.
The determining factor in policies and procedures relating to children is age, not the environment/circumstances in which the child or young person is at the time. Otherwise a 16- year-old who plays for a senior second team would not have to wear a helmet. By the same token, the 17-year-old eligible to play in under-17 competition would have to wear a helmet in that competition, but not when he/she appears in senior competition.
Q. Who is responsible for establishing whether a child has to wear a helmet or not?
A. The responsibility for establishing a young person’s age rests with those in charge of the team/club for which the young person is playing. The liability rests with the club making the declaration that the young person is of age whereby he/she does not have to wear a helmet it is not the referee’s responsibility to establish age.
Q. What role does the referee have in making sure helmets are worn properly during a game?
A. If a referee suspects that a young person about to take part and not wearing helmet may be under-17, it is his/her responsibility to seek clarification from an adult official in charge of the team for which the young person is about to play.
If the official states that the young person is 17 or over, then the referee is authorised to accept this statement as genuine. Through being authorised to accept the word of a club official, the referee is absolved of any liability should it subsequently be established that a player playing without a helmet is under-17. If the referee fails to question the age of a child whom it is reasonable to suspect may be under-17, then the referee will share liability with the club for failing to clarify age.
If the club cannot make a statement confirming that the child is 17 or over, and the child refuses to wear a helmet, then the referee must refuse the child permission to take part in the event. If this results in the match having to be postponed, then that is an unfortunate consequence of the failure of the club to verify the ages of its players.
Q. Can a child opt not to wear a helmet?
A. Under no circumstances should a match or club official allow young people who are, or in the case of doubt may be, under-17 to choose whether or not they shall wear a helmet.
Adults have a responsibility for the welfare of children. In matters such the wearing of helmets, that responsibility cannot be delegated to the young people themselves. To do so would be an avoidance of adult responsibility at best and a matter for legal challenge at worst.
There are a small number of children and young people who, for medical reasons, cannot wear a helmet. If a club has such a player within its ranks, then it must obtain a copy of a certificate signed by a medical practitioner declaring that this is so. A person who has parental responsibility for the child or young person should provide this. The club should also obtain a signed statement from the person with parental responsibility. This statement should declare that:
the person with parental responsibility has been made aware of the ByeLaws of the Camanachd Association with respect to the wearing of helmets by children and young people under-17 and,having been made aware, declares that he/she, solely on medical grounds, wishes his/her child to play shinty without having to wear a helmet and,absolves the team/club for which his/her child is playing, match officials and the Camanachd Association of any liability for any head injury that may result which could have been avoided had the child/young person been wearing a helmet.
The club should ensure that a copy of the letter from the parent along with a copy of the medical certificate is in the hands of the person in charge of the team at every match/event in which the young person in question is participating. These should be shown to the referee before the match starts. The referee does not need to retain the copy. Sight of it is sufficient. If asked, the referee should then be able to say that he/she did see these documents
Q. Other than for a medical reason can a parent ask for a child to be excused from wearing a helmet
A. No. A parent cannot ask that their child be excused from wearing a helmet for any other reason. To do so, in the view of the Camanachd Association, would be a failure to properly exercise parental responsibility to promote the welfare of the child.