CHICAGO (Monday, October 29, 2001) - Law 4, The Players' Equipment, states that "a player may not use equipment or wear anything which is dangerous to himself or another player (including any kind of jewelry)." USSF guidance to referees has always been that jewelry or clothing that might otherwise be prohibited could nevertheless be worn if:
- it was clearly religious or medical in nature and
- the referee decided that it was not dangerous
The following points of emphasis should be noted regarding common sense applications of these requirements to medical alert jewelry (primarily, bracelets or necklaces):
- In order to decide if a medical item is dangerous, it must be inspected by the referee. Each situation must be decided on its own merits. Referees must not automatically include or exclude any item as dangerous without performing an inspection.
- Referees are urged to consider carefully any decision that medical alert jewelry presents a danger which cannot be resolved by such measures as taping the necklace inside the jersey or taping over the bracelet (without covering the critical medical information it displays).
- Referees should explain to the player the specific reasons why an item of medical jewelry is dangerous so that the player can attempt to correct the problem short of taking the item off. While the final decision whether any such correction is successful must remain with the referee, virtually all ordinary medical alert jewelry is either not dangerous as is or can easily be made not dangerous.