After Female Field Hockey Teammate Hospitalized By Shot From Boy, Dighton-Rehoboth Captain Calls On MIAA To Make Changes

Printed from:

After a slapshot from a boy injured one of her teammates, a captain of the Dighton-Rehoboth Regional High School field hockey team wrote a letter to the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association calling for change.

In its 2-1 loss to Swampscott in the MIAA Division 3 Round of 32 matchup against Swampscott on Thursday, November 2, a girl on the Dighton-Rehoboth team got seriously hurt. Swampscott High senior captain and Northeastern Conference All-Star Sawyer Groothuis, a boy, drilled a girl in the face with a shot.

The female player suffered significant dental and facial injuries that required her to go to the hospital, Dighton-Rehoboth superintendent Bill Runey confirmed in a letter to parents late last week.

Kelsey Bain, a captain of the Dighton-Rehoboth team, was not happy with the incident. In her letter to the MIAA, she wrote that the “MIAA needs to do better.”

Citing a NewBostonPost story about a boy excelling for the Norwell High girls’ volleyball team, Bain noted that there were 41 boys on MIAA field hockey teams during the fall 2019 season.

Field hockey is a girls’ sport in Massachusetts. But Bain said the MIAA should make boys’ field hockey teams a reality so girls can play against other girls without having to play against boys. 

“There is likely more interest, but the stigma of boys playing on a girl’s team is probably a deterrent,” Bain wrote. “I am sure school districts can institute co-op teams to create further opportunities for males to play in their own division, which I assume you are already aware of because, under rule 34 of the MIAA handbook, there is a division for boys’ field hockey listed under the Fall Sports category.

“You have a chance to change the negative publicity the MIAA has been receiving due to the incident that happened on Thursday night by moving forward with the proposal for a seven versus seven boys league.”

Bain also described how she and her teammates felt seeing their teammate injured by the shot from a boy.

“The shrieks and screams of fear and pain that projected from her after being hit filled the stadium,” Bain wrote. The looks of horror and shock on the faces of the girls surrounding her were also chilling.”

“Following the injury, my teammates were sobbing not only in fear for their teammate but also in fear that they had to go back out onto the field and continue a game, playing against a male athlete who hospitalized one of our own. The traumatic event sheds light on the rules and regulations of male athletes participating in women’s sports.”

Following the incident, the MIAA defended letting boys play.

“We respect and understand the complexity and concerns that exist regarding student safety. However, student safety has not been a successful defense to excluding students of one gender from participating on teams of the opposite gender,” the MIAA told The New York Post in a statement on Saturday, November 4. “The arguments generally fail due to the lack of correlation between injuries and mixed-gender teams.”

Bain said that’s not a good enough answer.

“We all witnessed the substantial damage that a male has the ability to cause against a female during a game,” Bain wrote. “How much longer does the MIAA plan on using girls as statistical data points before they realize that boys do not belong in girls’ sports? Twenty injuries? One hundred? Death?”

In his letter to parents, Superintendent Runey said the MIAA should make rule changes to improve the safety of girls in field hockey.

“The law is the law and I understand the MIAA is hand-strung to that to an extent but I think they need to go back and find a middle ground that would increase player safety,” Runey wrote.

“To be clear, I have the utmost respect for the abilities of female athletes,” he later added. “I am the father of three and all three were very successful in their high school athletic careers. My two daughters remain in the athletic realm today due, in large part, to their positive experience in high school athletics. We have a responsibility to preserve that positivity for all of our athletes today and in the future.”

Conversely, Bain said the MIAA should not alter the rules for the girls’ teams to accommodate boys.

“Altering the rules and equipment to adapt to gameplay involving boys is not only an inconvenience, but it comes with a physical and emotional cost for players who are forced to change the game they love,” she added. “By trying to create equality, you are only creating inequalities.”

“Please use this as an opportunity to take a negative incident and turn it into a positive change.”

The state allows boys like Groothius to play because of the 1979 Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court decision in Attorney General v. Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association. In it, the court ruled that the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association’s policy of the time that stated “No boy may play on a girls’ team” was unlawful because in the court’s view it violated the Equal Rights Amendment of the Massachusetts Constitution.

The Equal Rights Amendment of the Massachusetts Constitution states:


All people are born free and equal and have certain natural, essential and unalienable rights; among which may be reckoned the right of enjoying and defending their lives and liberties; that of acquiring, possessing and protecting property; in fine, that of seeking and obtaining their safety and happiness. Equality under the law shall not be denied or abridged because of sex, race, color, creed or national origin.


The Equal Rights Amendment was relatively new at the time. It passed at the ballot in the November 1976 general election with 60.4 percent supporting and 39.6 percent opposing, according to the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s office. Every single county voted in favor of the proposed amendment.

A video of the incident is available below:



New to NewBostonPost? Conservative media is hard to find in Massachusetts. But you’ve found it. Now dip your toe in the water for two bucks — $2 for two months. And join the real revolution.