I am looking for advice on whether a commonly used knee brace may be in violation of Law 4. I’m seeing more and more female players recovering from ACL injuries using a brace similar to the one shown in the attached file. In a game I did yesterday I noticed a brace during checkin. I asked the player and coach if a referee had ever disallowed her from playing because of the brace and the answer was no. At the start of the second half the opposing coach approached me to inquire about the brace. He told me that his players were complaining that they were getting ‘bumped’ by the brace during close in play. No player approached me with that complaint.
Is such a knee brace considered to be dangerous to players?
USSF answer (May 26, 2010):
Braces may be worn if they meet the same requirement that must be met for any equipment, that it ensures complete safety for all participants. The final decision rests with the referee for this particular game; not the last game, not the next game, but this game.
In addition, a player wearing an item of clothing or equipment which is not standard but which has been inspected by the referee and found not to be dangerous may still not use the item dangerously during play. If the player in question is using the brace to unfairly augment her abilities or as a weapon, then it may not be worn.