Lacrosse has grown in recent years to become one of the most popular sports for young athletes. Teams and tournaments seem to be springing up everywhere, especially here in Southern California where sports are played year round. My youngest son has started playing and loves it – it reminds me of a combination of soccer, rugby, and hockey all in one game.
As I watch these games and practices, it is evident that protection equipment for Lacrosse is fairly minimal. Players wear helmets, shoulder pads, elbow pads, and gloves. The legs, knees and torso are unprotected.
If you’ve never seen a game or understand it, I wouldn’t be surprised as it is new to many areas, and is played at the university level nationwide. Athletes try to control a ball and throw it into a hockey net-like goal while other players try to knock the ball out of your stick with their own. As players strike other players on their heads, shoulders, arms, legs and stick, its not unusual to find a few lying on the ground after they fight it out.
This is a game that is popular for both boys and girls. Interestingly, girls lacrosse is different and only requires the use of a protective glasses and a mouthguard – no pads / helmet / gloves.
Most lacrosse injuries occur by player contact – more than 70%. Most at risk in girls lacrosse is the head, in my opinion. In boys lacrosse, the lower extremities are at risk, with injuries occuring about 25% of the time, with the head and face also about 25% of the time. At more competitive levels, more injuries did not involve contact, often at the ankle.
Here are a few tips to prevent lacrosse injuries:
- As with all sports, good conditioning directed at the specific skills needed for Lacrosse will help reduce injury risk.
- Careful understanding of the rules – no stick-checking in girls lacrosse, for example, is designed to help avoid head and shoulder injuries.
- Girls lacrosse should consider the use of shoulder pads, elbow pads and gloves.
- Consider wearing shin guards and knee pads.
- Implement the use of helmets in girls lacrosse.
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A few questions for you: Do you play or have a child who plays Lacrosse? What injuries have you seen or are worried about? What preventative measures have you seen or have your coaches implemented? I look forward to hearing from you!
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