England: Defender Loses 6 Teeth in Horrific Penalty Corner Accident

An injury that will no doubt reignite the safety of penalty corners in hockey debate and calls for them to be removed from the game.

A club player who lost six teeth in a traumatic injury while competing in a top-of-the-table match in the Midlands Premier Division was forced to create a gofundme account after enduring a dental bill of up to £10,000.

Simon Claris was injured while competing for Stourport HC against Khalsa Leamington. During a corner, Claris was standing on the line and was struck in the face by one of Khalsa’s former Pakistan internationals. Stourport was leading 3-2 at the time (the eventual final score) after they missed the ensuing penalty stroke; the final score was 3-2.

He told The Hockey Paper, “The agony was initially unimaginable and spread throughout my entire head before focusing on my mouth.” When I was able to open my eyes and realise where I had been struck, my lower lip, which was split open, and my gums, where the teeth had been completely fractured, were gushing blood.

In the presence of a large crowd, Claris’ best companion transported him to the hospital. “My parents were there, but my father is the manager, so I told him to remain with the team to ensure we won the game, and my mother would have fainted upon seeing me,” clarified Claris.

“Initially, I was taken to the closest hospital before being informed that I must go to a larger hospital with a specialised facial department. I was initially examined because my lips had begun to swell and my mouth was in excruciating agony.

The specialist then informed me that I had entirely shattered and slashed my teeth at the gum line. When she told me I would be losing at least five teeth, my initial reaction was foreboding (of course mixed with pain). I wasn’t sure what to think about my appearance and the long-term effects.”

Simon Claris plays in the Midlands Premier for Stourport. Photographer: MARK STANLEY

After teeth fragments were extracted and his gum and lip were sewn back together, he was allowed to depart. He has spent the last two weeks evaluating his options with various dentists, undergoing facial scans and having the nerves removed from his deceased bottom teeth.

Stourport has club insurance, but the required procedures will cost more than it can claim, prompting Claris to create a GoFundMe “to try and cover the gap.” To date, he has raised close to £2,000, and estimates for dental care range from £6,000 to £10,000.

Initially, he will be fitted with a denture plate, which will be replaced with implants once the jaws have healed.

As much as I’d like to, I’m not sure if I’ll be able to return to the field competitively this season.

“Hockey is a significant part of my existence, serving as an escape from my job as a project manager at a multinational IT company. I was able to return to work, but the increasing number of virtual meetings has made it difficult.”

Claris has been playing for nearly twenty years after beginning at age five. Last season, he returned to Stourport after playing for Beeston and Repton during his university years. He guested for Repton in the Premier Division Indoor during the winter and has represented England at the junior level.

Claris is aware of the evident dangers in hockey given the current speed of the game in the modern era, but he, like most amateur players who participate in the sport on a weekly basis, must adapt to the current laws.

“Safety in hockey is difficult to reconcile because it is such a fast-paced sport and players don’t want to wear cumbersome protective gear,” he added.

“Since I am a drag flicker, I am aware of the dangers associated with standing on the post for penalty corners. I chose not to wear a mask because I believe they hinder my vision and I wish to maximise my chances of blocking the ball on the line.

“I was wearing a gum shield, but it was ineffective against the speed of the projectile that was flicked. Due to the ever-increasing pace of the game, I believe there are more injuries in hockey, but regrettably, this is something to which players must adapt.

Like this article?

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on Linkdin
Share on Pinterest

Leave a comment

SanFair Newsletter

The latest on what’s moving world – delivered straight to your inbox
Verified by MonsterInsights