The AAP introduced new dates for the use of mandatory standard helmets

By Alejandra Ocampo

The Autumn season in Argentina is just around the corner, with many competitions in sight organised by the Argentine Association of Polo (AAP). On that regard, the governing body of polo in Argentina announced new dates for the use of mandatory standard helmets, in addition to brands and models that meet the requirements, in order to reinforce the safety within the sport.

Although the use of mandatory standard helmets was in use since October 2022, the AAP announced two new dates for players to wear these mandatory helmets that meet the requirements – March 1 2023 and July 1 2023. 

”Polo is quite a bit delayed on the safety issue as well as the innovations. It is a potentially dangerous sports, and we had to work really hard to improve safety due to the large number of accidents during 2022”, says Delfín Uranga, the President of the AAP, in conversation with PoloLine. “However”, he continues, “we already anticipated on safety issues; we had talks with experts on road safety, and the first thing they told us was to raise awarness on the people and kickoff a communication campaign. We also realized that there wasn’t a proper protocol about what to do when there’s an accident during a match, such as Juan Martin Nero’s in the 2019 Argentine Open final. So, we estabished a medical board composed by people who work with other sports, like rugby, a sport which has developed a lot with regards to saftey, and we were able to work on communication, prevention, rules and fouls”.

“We needed to reinforce on the issue of safety in order to protect the player, and we started with the head. A strong hit on the head might cause the worst of consequences, and we realised that helmets had to pass a number of tests which apply to the sport and the kind of accidents that eventually can happen. When the brain receive an important blow, it is a shock that damages the whole body. We were able to reach the American and English rules on this matter because they are the most advanced, as well as those of other sports, such as ski and cycling”, states Uranga.

The mandatory standard helmets were in use

  • From October 1 2022, onwards

For all official high goal tournaments (+ 24-goal).

  • From November 1 2022, onwards

For all official high goal tournaments (+ 20-goal).

On February 1 2023, the AAP added two new dates to wear mandatory standard helmets, as follows:

  • From March 1 2023, onwards

For all official tournaments of all levels in the metropolitan area.

  • From July 1 2023, onwards

For all official tournamens of all levels all over the country.

With regards to standard mandatory helmets, brands and models to wear have been announced by the AAP. On this regard, Uranga says that “we are working alongside an institute called Virginia Test, who make the rankings of standard helmets. We are sending our helmets in order to pass the tests. The idea is to be open to ideas and as I said before, work together with other sports that are similiar in risks to polo, and experienced very good results with lighter helmets and better technology, that relieves an eventual hit”.

Casablanca, Model NEU

La Martina, Model Windsor

Armis, Armis Duo

Armis, Armis Edge

Armis, Armis Vera

Charles Owen, Palermo II Polo

Charles Owen, Polo Edition

Charles Owen, Young Rider Polo

Charles Owen, Sovereign

GPA, Speed Air 2X

GPA, Polo 2X

Instinct Polo, Instnict MK1

Instinct Polo, Askari

Kep Italia, Cromo

These mandatory standard helmets must pass a test in order to meet the proper requirements to protect the player, in the event of an accident”, remarks Uranga.

In addition, and before the start of each game, referees must make sure that all players wear the mandatory standard helmets that meet the PASO15 and NOCSAE requirements.

In addition, and beyond the mandatory use of standard helmets, Delfín Uranga spoke about the significant number of accidents during the last year. We had to reach for a common ground, and in many cases, it was due to the horses; there were horses who were not ready to play or nor trained properly for the sport, tired horses. So we instructed the umpires to allow players to change horses in 0-24 goal tournaments, if the horse is not appropriate to play”.

Being polo a sport of many risks, safety controls are crucial; it is an issue that is improving every day and growing steadily, in order to provide the players the best equipment for their performance.

Cover photo by Matias Callejo.

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