A blow to the head in lacrosse was once seen as a minor setback. Players who carried on in games were regarded as “tough.” However, a lot has changed during the last decade and concussions are now taken seriously by both coaches and players alike.
Concussion injuries in games such as lacrosse account for the highest share in interscholastic sports. A study done by the National High School Sports showed that head/face concussion made up for 23.6 percent of total injuries.
On the other hand, Andrew E. Lincoln, MS, ScD, Sports Medicine Research Director at MedStar Health Research Institute, states that in the case of boys lacrosse, most of the concussions are related to intentional helmet use during contact (player-to-player). The results of the study demonstrated that players are unprepared for the impact of the collisions that result in the injuries in most cases.
Most of the unexpected injuries indicate that the concentration of the players is on gaining possession during play, which makes them vulnerable to sudden contact from opponent players.
Just recently, there was the case of Sara Letmanski of Glenbard West (Ill.), who injured the back of her head. The concussion was so extreme that she has been having trouble adjusting to bright light. This incident could very well mark the end of her lacrosse career.
Educating and teaching players on how to minimize concussion risks
In most cases, players aren’t aware of what a concussion is and can easily fail to recognize one when they suffer from it. Helmets may not be the answer, because the report from The Guardian after speaking to Barry D. Jordan, M.D, M.P.H in While Plains, N.Y., at the Burke Rehabilitation Hospital implied that there wasn’t any helmet that was concussion proof.
A lacrosse coach can educate players on how to spot concussions and suggest recovery measures to a player has been a victim of the injury.
For example, Dane Almassy is a lacrosse coach in White Plains, N.Y., who works with teams part-time, one-time and full-time. The existence of such coaches indicate that players may be able to learn about lacrosse techniques and concussion avoidance in a single session, while some teams may take multiple sessions to learn. Lacrosse hiring bodies can also decide to work with coaches on an ongoing basis to eliminate chances of a head injury in every game.
While coaching may not be able to prepare players to completely avoid concussions, it will significantly improve their understanding of the risk and change the way that they compete on the field. They’ll learn how to play the right way, keep their eyes open and protect each other against opponent teams.
According to the National Governing Body of Lacrosse in U.S., a new legislation has been set up with the aim to report on safety standards equipment manufacturers will have to abide by. They say that the equipment also has a role to play to ensure player safety in the game. The NGBL also states the Federal Trade Commission should take strong action against manufactures who fail to comply with the standards.
Hopefully in the future, there will be a reduction in lacrosse concussion cases. How do you feel about concussion in lacrosse? Feel free to leave comments.
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