On November 2, a female Massachusetts high school field hockey player was sent to the hospital after being hit in the face by a ball launched by a male on the opposing team. The unidentified female senior “sustained significant facial and dental injuries,” resulting in the loss of two teeth.
The incident occurred in the third quarter of a state tournament game between Dighton-Rehoboth Regional High School and Swampscott High School.
The video shows the male player shooting the ball towards the goal, but instead hitting the female player in the face. The injured player could be heard screaming while teammates stood in disbelief. The shot was powerful enough to create a thud before impact, causing the crowd to gasp.
Sawyer Groothuis, the male athlete seen wearing the number two jersey, plays for Swampscott High School and is a “Northeastern Conference All-Star in the women’s league.” He identifies as transgendered.
Many professional female sports advocates took to social media to comment on the incident. Riley Gaines tweeted her frustrations with the “equal play act.”
It's reported that male player (#2 for Swampscott) knocked the teeth out of female player. Males are allowed to play on female teams in MA because of the "equal play act"
— Riley Gaines (@Riley_Gaines_) November 3, 2023
Nicole Solas also took to X to share her opinion.
Swampscott field hockey player #2 is a male.
It's reported he knocked out the teeth of a Dighton-Rehoboth female player tonight. See 57:42: https://t.co/epRZz7A5ib…
— Nicole Solas, Sued by the Teachers Union (@Nicoletta0602) November 3, 2023
The Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association allows males to compete in female sports if there is no male team available and vice versa.
This incident has left some questioning whether it is time to review and revise the rule. Dighton-Rehoboth School District Superintendent Bill Runey reported in a statement that safety should be considered in co-ed sports.
The superintendent even suggested the use of helmets similar to men’s lacrosse players wear as an extra layer of protection.
What angered some is that shortly after the incident, Groothuis scored a goal, eliminating Dighton-Rehoboth from the tournament making the final score 2-0. In fact, he scored both goals, making many points out the unfair advantage Swampscott had.
Sage Steele took to X to comment on the sad reality of why men are always seen playing on women’s teams while women are rarely seen playing on men’s teams.
Wait….so no females playing on male teams? Wonder why it only goes one way??!!! 🤔 https://t.co/xUQNmBQC6P
— Sage Steele (@sagesteele) November 3, 2023
The unidentified Dighton-Rehoboth player was released from the hospital Friday.