what is impact?

Clarifying what I said yesterday about what “impact” means to refs because someone asked:

Impact has nothing to do with how hard one skater slams into another.

You can slam into each other infinitely hard and not get a penalty as long as it is otherwise legal (legal contact areas, in-bounds, moving in derby-direction, no head contact, etc) 

Impact is an effect on the game. To refs this generally means “Does a skater go down, out of bounds or get passed by other skaters as a result of something an opponent did?” If yes then that action had impact. Many things are penalties when they have impact and still-illegal-but-not-penalties when they don’t have impact.

Having things be illegal-but-not-penalties is a dumb way to write your rules and confuses people who try to play your sport. But that’s not what this post is about.

Getting back to the question yesterday about big hits not being penalties…let’s say a 300lb skater shoulder blocks a 90lb skater at full speed, sends them flying into the 10th row of the audience where they break their neck and die when they land. If the hit was otherwise legal they will not get a penalty for hitting too hard, regardless of if they’re WFTDA or MRDA.

That block has no more “impact” than if it had been so soft it moved the opposing player 2 inches and they landed safely on a pillow in the ref lane.

One of several exceptions to this idea of “impact” being required for most penalties is that you could brush an eyelash off of an opponent’s cheek and get ejected because you aren’t allowed to touch them on purpose above the shoulders, no matter how softly, regardless of “impact”.

All of that being said, you can get a penalty for doing something that is judged by the refs to be both unsafe and not specifically covered by the rules. But that is not applicable to a legal but unusually hard hit.

Hard hits are just hard hits.

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