The debate continues over whether female lacrosse players should be required to wear helmets during games to prevent injury.
Those in favor suggest that it would do nothing but good in preventing serious head injuries amongst hundreds of girls a season. Stick checks and shots can be very dangerous and damaging to an athlete who is only wearing a mouth guard and goggles if struck in the head.
Those against the idea of helmet requirements say that other measurements can be taken in preventing these injuries such as proper teaching and enforcement of the rules. Many suggest that by requiring female lacrosse players to wear helmets, it may bring the style of play to a more aggressive level. Women’s lacrosse is a non-contact sport, so why should there be helmets involved?
Since 2001, US Lacrosse has led and continues to direct numerous initiatives that reduce the risk of head and other injuries for women’s lacrosse players. Those efforts include:
• Development of sport-specific protective eyewear and rules to mandate player use.
• Enrollment of 30,000 coaches in lacrosse-specific educational programs that include appropriate curricula for teaching safe play.
• Enrollment of 10,000 officials in lacrosse-specific educational programs that include rules and mechanics training.
• Investment of nearly $750,000 in research studies that result in recommendations to reduce risk of player injury.
• Rule changes to greater penalize stick checks near the head and other unsafe play.
• Development of a game-specific protective headgear standard through ASTM International, which was approved last month.
These efforts have all contributed greatly in reducing the injury rates in women’s lacrosse over the past decade, as evidenced by the findings in recent injury surveillance studies.
But are these efforts enough?
For more on maximizing player safety in lacrosse, visit uslacrosse.org/safety.