Tag Archives: lacrosse
Mention concussions and the majority of people tend to think football. The fact is, “concussed athletes” go way beyond football. And it’s not just the guys who are in the spotlight, the gals are coming front and center these days as far as head trauma is concerned.
In the case of one female athlete, she slid into base, head forward, just as she had been taught. The result was devastating. Out cold. She didn’t wake up until 2 days later. She became another high schooler adding to the statistics of what is apparently a growing trend of female athletes suffering injury on the playing field.
“In sports where contact is the same, we see that girls have roughly twice as many concussions as guys,” stated one doctor, elaborating, “We believe that a contributing factor is that girls are a bit more honest in explaining their symptoms.”
In girls’ sports, the Florida Hospital Sports Concussion Program (FHSCP) reports that lacrosse ranks third behind soccer and cheerleading in diagnosed concussions. The FHSCP also “saw a 12 percent increase in female athletes taking baseline concussion tests overall this past year, and a 55 percent increase in diagnosed concussions in girls.”
You can read more about this trend at http://thesent.nl/YDQJup
Is lacrosse actually trailing professional football when it comes to a proactive stance on making rule changes that protect participants from concussions?
That certainly appears to be the case.
Medstar Sports Medicine Research Center in Baltimore recently videotaped 518 boys’ lacrosse games at 25 public high schools in Fairfax County, Virginia during the 2008 and 2009 seasons. A total of 86 concussions were reportedly identified and treated by athletic trainers.
The findings – the majority of the concussions resulted from players using their head to initiate contact, many times on defenseless players – was alarming.
An article on the site Mom’s Team quoted the lead researcher, Andrew E. Lincoln, as saying that the findings “demonstrate that the struck player was unaware and unprepared for the impending impact in about half of the collisions resulting in concussions and captured on video. These ‘defenseless hits’ represent scenarios where the player’s full attention is focused on obtaining possession of the ball, and therefore, the player may be vulnerable to unanticipated contact from an opponent.”
But what may have been more alarming was the fact that “penalties were called in only 9 out of the 34 cases.”
In a concluding passage of the study, the authors wrote: “The absence of penalty calls on most of these plays suggests an area for exploration, such as the extent to which rules governing player to player contact are enforced and how effective these rules are for the prevention of head injury at various levels of the sport.”
The Virginia Tech University Research Center, which has made its name in the sports industry by rating football helmets for “their ability to lessen the likelihood of a concussion resulting from a violent head impact,” is expanding its scope to include helmets worn by hockey, baseball, softball, and lacrosse athletes.
Ratings on hockey helmets are expected in fall 2013, followed by youth football in 2015, and then baseball, softball, and lacrosse in 2016. During that time, all ratings for adult and youth football helmets will continually be updated and released to the public.
The new research is being funded by Virginia Tech, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the National Institutes of Health, and the Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science (http://www.ictas.vt.edu/) at Virginia Tech.
Stefan Duma, a professor of biomedical engineering and department head of the Virginia Tech – Wake Forest University School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences, did offer a caveat.
“It is important to note that no helmet can prevent all concussions. The most effective strategies to reduce concussions in sports involve modifying league rules and player technique to limit exposure to head impacts,” said Duma.
“Beyond this, head impacts are a given in sport. Our research focuses on identifying helmets that reduce concussion risk so that athletes can make informed decisions based on independent data when purchasing equipment, which in turn, incentivizes helmet manufacturers to design helmets that better reduce head acceleration.”