Saturday, May 8, 2010

Youth Soccer: The Earring Dilemma

My friend is a big time soccer enthusiast. He's a true student of the game. He played in HS and on some pretty competitive club teams during and after college. He thinks he knows the game inside and out. That experience did not prepare him for today.

Before today he didn't know all the rules of the game. Today, he encountered the strict no earring rule and its impact on the game.

This strict "no earring" soccer rule is diametrically opposed to the strict rule that Claire's, the mall based ear piercing store established. Claire's established a "YOU CANNOT TAKE YOUR EARRINGS OUT FOR SIX WEEKS." rule. This rule is communicated loud and clear. Young impressionable girls walk away from their first ear piercing scared. Scared of the death penalty that will be imposed if they take their earrings out before six weeks. And do not be fooled, Claire's has considerable clout with 3000 stores worldwide and 80 million ears pierced.

When these two rules are at odds it's not pretty. Here's how it typically plays out.

The girls line up face to face with their opponents at mid field prior to the soccer game.
The ref reviews the rules. 
The ref checks for proper cleats and shin pads.
The ref asks the girls if they are wearing any jewelry and in particular earrings.
If a girl has earrings in, the ref tells the girl to take them out.
The young girl with new earrings will then look over at her mom with a look of doom on her face.
Then the girl will tell the ref that Claire's told her under penalty of death that she cannot take out her earrings.
The ref will then explain that she or he cannot allow her to play with earrings.
Then to pass the blame the ref will say something about his hands being tied and insurance.
The young girl will wonder what that all means as her eyes start to well up with tears.
She will try to hold it together.
She will look for support from fellow girls
Unfortunately she will only see the members of the opposing team each sporting big grins on their faces knowing that she is toast.
Then the young girl will run off the field crying uncontrollably and jump into the lap of her mom.
The mom will pack up her fold-away chair, slip it into the fold-away chair sleeve and go home to clean the front and back of each ear with Claire’s Ear Care Antiseptic.
But not before a quick stop at the ice cream store.

Crazy Youth Sports Parent Alert

How do I know this? My daughter went through this dramatic experience when she was five. Here was my response, "Who the hell is Claire? Are you kidding me? Just take them out, we need you to win this pee wee soccer game."

For the six weeks following the edict from Claire to my daughter, my daughter line up at mid-field with her hair down and avoided eye contact with the ref.



I know what you are thinking, the rule is in place to protect the young athlete and I was an idiot for allowing her to play. I know.

This is not an isolated situation. I have seen the same scene played out several times with other players during my coaching career and now my buddy has experienced it too.

That is why I am telling you all now, avoid the earring dilemma, do not let your kids get their ears pierced during the season.


The Main Point

Young girls are going to listen to Claire's over any ref or any dad. Always. Parents NEVER let your kids get their ears pierced during soccer or basketball season.

30 comments:

  1. I love how he says "WHO THE HELL IS CLAIRE" It's a jewelry store for teenagers and girls

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  2. A different side...my daughter has had 3 attempts now at earrings. 6 weeks is the minimum time - in her case, her doctor says she needs to keep them in for a year. Even taking them out for an hour has shut the holes in her ears (btw..she's 12).

    My question to soccer is...what the hell is the risk of a small post? I can see the issue of loops...but a tiny post? Seems like a lawyer went crazy over this.

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    Replies
    1. My ears are the same so my mom would put band- aids over my small post and the ref let me played. It been 4 months and i still wear band- aids bc this is the 4 time i repierce them and they close in like 1 hour . So put band-aids over them

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    2. Here is why you should not let your girls where earrings during soccer games. Girl is running down the field and kicks the ball hard in the air and hits girl with earrings dead on at the back of the ear. Stud post lodges directly into the cheek bone joint and will not come out causing the joint to lock and now little girl is in extreme pain requiring surgury to remove post from cheek bone. I've seen this happen and it was not pretty.

      Now you know why mostly all leagues do not allow earrings. It's rare that it happens but it does.

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    3. Oh get real. While at it, lets trim all fingernails before the game, make them wear shoulder pads and helmets and play with a nerf sponge ball.

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    4. It's mostly due to the risk of them catching on an opponents' jersey and the ear being torn. Not likely, but just in case...

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    5. In the 6 years i have played girls football i have never ones seen a girl hit in the ear but i have seen them hit right in the face when they are wearing glasses which could break and shater in their face and eyes. Now you reading this thinking im over exaggerating well i am like you are with someone needing surgery to remove a earing

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    6. In the 6 years i have played girls football i have never ones seen a girl hit in the ear but i have seen them hit right in the face when they are wearing glasses which could break and shater in their face and eyes. Now you reading this thinking im over exaggerating well i am like you are with someone needing surgery to remove a earing

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  3. As a soccer coach I totally agree. However, I have found that recreational referrees will allow both boys and girls to wear earing if they wear a head band and only for the few weeks it takes for the ears to heal. Then no go, following the rules. FYI players are also not allowed to wear watches or necklaces either. No jewelry is the rule.

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  4. I wear two different backs on my earrings(small and big) so they don't fall out, bc if they do, it only takes an hour or so for them to close up.:)

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  5. I'm 13 and I play soccer for U15. I'm thinking about getting my ears pierced this week but I don't know about soccer... if I put a band-aids on them wouldn't that be enough to be able to play?

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    Replies
    1. I would ask a ref at your next game or call the league office. I would not chance it. I would recommend getting your ears pieced in that winter.

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    2. as a referee myself, the laws of the game say no jewelry, PERIOD!. they don't say anything about band-aids or tape to make it ok. So, the answer is NO

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  6. i have reffed youth soccer for three years (i am 14) and i never let anyone wear earings, i have been forced to send a girl away because she wouldnt take them out. Its the rule, i have seen people need stitches from just a stud. Its a good thing it is taken so seriously.

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  7. i have only had my ears pierced for about 5 days and i have a soccer tournament this weekend. this means two games per day... do you think i will be safe??? btw i play for U13 travel (competitive) soccer.

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    Replies
    1. Here is why you should not let your girls where earrings during soccer games. Girl is running down the field and kicks the ball hard in the air and hits girl with earrings dead on at the back of the ear. Stud post lodges directly into the cheek bone joint and will not come out causing the joint to lock and now little girl is in extreme pain requiring surgury to remove post from cheek bone. I've seen this happen and it was not pretty.

      Now you know why mostly all leagues do not allow earrings. It's rare that it happens but it does.

      Delete
  8. My daughter takes the rules very seriously so I purchased her soft plastic earrings that are flat on both sides to wear during games in the "six week waiting period". She plays competitively so there is no break in play that allows for the six week healing time. I don't know if the plastic flat ones will be allowed since it is a new concept that is being sold as earring sport retainers. We shall see, but I agree, let them play!

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  9. My daughter got her ears pierced 6 weeks ago. The first week of school Soccer began. She had a hard time removing them tonight for practice because of the catch or lock on the back of the stud. However, after alot of stress and telephone assistance from the Manager at Claire's, she finally got them out. Soccer practice was an hr. However, she did not try to put the studs in for more than two hours later and had a hard time. I feared they were beginning to close. 2 hrs later and with one ear bleeding, she finally got them in. However, she has a soccer game tomoro and I am worried. She has been doing the bandaid thing on the backs of the ears but I am concerned because I learned the reason kids are not allowed to wear earings during sports is because of an artery behind the ear that if hit hard can poke the stud through and cause bleeding of the artery. I am even more concerned because last week she did get hit on the side of the head with the ball. At the time I worried that the stud would be embedded in her ear until I learned the real reason refs don't approve of it. Should she continue to wear them because of the situation tonight? Or, should she still remove them before future games even tho they already started to close in that short time? What type of padding, other than bandaids or athletic tape can be used to help prevent the problem of any potential injuries?

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  10. I have played soccer for ovet 20+ years and not once have I ever seen an earing injury.The refswould allow us to play with tape over our earings.I think parents now adays are to over protective and the kids should be able to play and have fun.We have three kid's and they are still in one piece , so we must be doing something rt!

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  11. While there is certainly a huge potential for injury in wearing large of dangly earrings, especially during sports, I wonder why on earth would anyone even consider wearing such jewellery while engaging in contact activities? I don’t see any problem in having studs – which is the norm when one gets their ears newly pierced (first time or not).

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  12. I don't understand why athletes today, are so set on wearing jewelry of any kind when playing sports?? I played sports from the time I could walk and I hate being sweaty and havig anything stick to me. It would take me forever, just to get the right sunglasses to play softball. I have played and refereed many sports in my 40+ years and most injuries I have witnessed were black eyes, broken bones, cuts, knees, dislocations, contacts flying out, etc. But the fact remains, the rule is in place for those instances when something as hard as a volleyball, soccerball, basketball, football, baseball, softball, can hit person (man, woman,or child) in the side of the head and it can make the post penetrate the main artery behind the ears. The same artery that you learn in highschool, to take your pulse after running. You will if the post falls out of whole, bleed out in a matter of minutes. Granted you may have better odds to win the lottery, but are you willing to risk it. Refs have been sued for injuries, due to not enforcing rules. Their insurance won't cover them if they were neglegent. I have seen peoples fingers turned inside out (skinned basically) because they thought the big wedding ring was okay to wear while playing volleyball. Players used to wear real glass lenses while playing baseball, until someone gets nailed with a line drive and the glass lens is broken and part of it is in their eye socket. Just tell your girls to wait until the off season to get piercings or take a year off. I have seen girls take tongue rings in and out everytime they were subbed in at volleyball games. Really it is not going to close up in 30 minutes to an hour. If it does then your body is rejecting it and maybe you should just get stickers or like we did in the old days, clip ons!

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  13. My post doesn't stick out of the back of the earring; am I ok to play?

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  14. We're in the midst of this nightmare right now. Daughter had ears pierced in late May (3 months ago) and has been so diligent about cleaning her ears and following the directions. We have a soccer tournament this weekend, so decided to take out the earrings overnight (last night) just to make sure we wouldn't have any problems this weekend. Well, after a few hours of tears this morning, a Dr visit, and a second opinion, her ears have already closed up and she will have to get them re-pierced at a later time. Daughter is hysterical and wants to quit soccer immediately. I don't understand why we can't tape up her ears for a game, especially since she's wearing a simple post and tiny earring. Instead, this is going to challenge her resolve to play organized soccer any more :(

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  15. As a rec softball coach, I ran into this exact issue. Strict referee and a player who just got their ear pierced. Huge blow up with players/parents either crying or upset. The game had not even started. I did something about it. I patented a product that goes over the earring so kids can play sports upon the initial period of getting their ears pierced. Looking now to license to a sports company. See the ear guard at www.2flip.com

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  16. Law 4 of the game which covers jewelry is explicit for players and referees. Why are there questions regarding enforcement. The primary reason for the law is to prevent needless injury or harm to the player or other players that can be easily prevented This is a contact sport and if you can easily prevent pain an suffering without impacting the game then why the discussion. My daughters' health far outweighs the need to wear optional jewelry (unless she needs the earring to sustain her life). Most probable secondary reasoning is that there have apparently been only two successful types of lawsuits against soccer referees in the US, 1) injuries sustained by unanchored goals and (2) injuries sustained due to not enforcing law 4, specifically regarding wear of jewelry.

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