From 1 January 2010 the wearing of helmets with faceguards will be compulsory for hurlers at all levels, the GAA announced today.
This will see senior players follow the regulations already in place at the minor and under 21 grades of hurling next year.
The GAA hope to significantly reduce the number of injuries by introducing the compulsory wearing of helmets with full faceguards, both in training and matches.
Hurlers of all ages, including those at nursery clubs when holding a hurley in their hand, must wear a helmet and faceguard at all times.
Match officials will be obliged to stop play if any player at any level appears on the field of play without the necessary standard of equipment.
Uachtarán Chumann Lúthchleas Gael Crísotóir Ó Cuana fully endorsed the pending rule change.
He said: ‘the introduction of this rule at senior level is a natural progression following as it does the rule change at minor and under-21 level in recent seasons.
‘We have seen a reduction in the number of serious facial injuries at these grades thanks to the compulsory use of helmets in games and training and we would hope to see the same trend at senior level too.
‘We accept that this change will provide challenges for older players not accustomed to wearing helmets and also to goalkeepers but we are confident that in time the benefits in terms of safety and player welfare will be seen to far outweigh any initial inconvenience presented by use of the helmets.’