AAP introduce new dates for the use of mandatory standard helmets


February 2, 2023

The Autumn season in Argentina is just around the corner, with many competitions organized by the Argentine Association of Polo (AAP) in sight. On that note, the governing body of polo in Argentina has announced new dates for the use of mandatory standard helmets, in addition to brands and models that meet the requirements, in order to reinforce safety within the sport.
Although the use of mandatory standard helmets has been in the rule 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 safety issues; we had talks with experts on road safety, and the first thing they told us was to raise awareness 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 established a medical board composed by people who work with other sports, like rugby, a sport which has improved a lot in terms of safety, 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,” continues Uranga. “A strong hit on the head might cause the worst of consequences, and we realized 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 receives 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, like as skiing and cycling.”
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 tournaments of all levels all over the country.
In terms of standard mandatory helmets, the appropriate brands and models to wear have been announced by the AAP. Uranga shares that “we are working alongside an institute called Virginia Test, that ranks standard helmets. We are sending our helmets over in order to be tested. The idea is to be open to ideas and, as I have said before, work together with other sports that have similar risks to polo and have experienced very good results with lighter helmets and better technology.”
The following mandatory standard helmets must pass a test in order to meet the proper requirements to protect the player, in the event of an accident:
• 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
Furthermore, 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.
Delfín Uranga also 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 that were not ready to play nor trained properly for the sport, or were very tired. So we instructed the umpires to allow players to change horses in 0-24 goal tournaments, if the horse is not in appropriate conditions to play.”
As polo is a sport of many risks, safety controls are crucial; it is an issue that is improving every day and growing steadily, in order to give the players the best equipment for their performance.

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