The popularity of womens's lacrosse is growing by leaps and bounds and so is the incidence of concussions.
The local high school, Vero Beach High, in the town where I practice in Florida has become a girl's lacrosse powerhouse winning 5-consecutive state championships. Now it seems that every semi-athletic, little girl in town is playing in hopes of progressing to the VBHS juggernaut.
With increased participation, my office is seeing more lacrosse related injuries especially concussions but interestingly not so much in boys. Concussions are serious brain injuries in anyone but especially in growing brains.
One would think that since boys play a much more physical style of lacrosse we would see exactly the opposite. Then what's the difference? Boys get hit in the head with lacrosse sticks and balls just like the girls. Simple...Boys wear hard helmets in lacrosse and girls are not allowed to.
I recently viewed an ESPN E:60 episode on the phenomenon or crisis if you will of concussions in girls' lacrosse. I was concerned with what I saw.
The studies and doctors that routinely deal with concussions reveal some startling findings. The studies show that lacrosse players have the highest rate of concussion in all women's sports. The experts that treat concussed athletes recognize that the concussions suffered by female lacrosse players are commonly of the more severe variety and often worse than their male counterparts.
What do the doctors that examine and treat concussed female lacrosse players overwhelmingly suggest? Mandate hard helmets for all players not merely the goalies...just like the men's game. Helmets do not protect the player from all risk of concussion but they certainly help.
Simple...right? Nothing is simple when it comes to sports and/or health.
The powers that be in US Lacrosse (the governing body for lacrosse) are steadfastly against the use of helmets in female lacrosse for reasons that seem dubious or ill-informed at best. They would prefer better education and instruction of players, coaches and referees.
Wouldn't we all but until that happens why not better protect these young ladies now with helmets?...just like the boys.