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How Do Lacrosse Injuries Happen?

Aug 23, 2008
A study published in 2005 concerning lacrosse injuries in high school-aged boys and girls concluded that high school lacrosse is a relatively safe sport, with most injuries involving sprains, strains, contusions and abrasions.

Lacrosse is listed by the NCAA as a "collision sport". That's the same category as ice hockey and football. Though unlike those sports, lacrosse has a lower rate of injury. This could be because Men's lacrosse players have to wear chest and shoulder pads, groin cups, helmets and padded gloves and elbows. Women's lacrosse injuries data doesn't show the need for helmets, but mouth guards and eye protection are required.

Common Injuries

Injuries to the wrist and hand often occur from a direct blow. Although the gloves are padded, they are softer and more flexible than hockey gloves to allow for greater dexterity of the fingers. Fractures are relatively common from the entrapment of the grasped fingers against the metal shaft of the player's own stick.

Shoulder separations and clavicle fractures often occur from collision with another player. Falling onto the shoulder is another common cause of injury to this area. The high rate of shoulder injuries compared to other contact sports is due to the particular nature of play. Actually, during game play, the shoulder is the most often injured body part.

The body parts most usually injured are the ankle, upper leg, and knee, which combined accounted for 48% of all lacrosse injuries. This is due to the fact that no pads are worn on the lower extremities. Knee injuries commonly happen in lacrosse because of quick pivoting to avoid an opponent by dodging or a cut step which strains the knees.

Proper Equipment

Regulations that require the use of protective equipment have been set by both US Lacrosse and the NCAA to preserve the upper extremities and head. Although Men's lacrosse is thought of as violent, NCAA injury statistics do not support this claim. About 40% of all lacrosse injuries are non-contact related.

US Lacrosse data showed that 42% of insurance claims dollars were paid for knee injuries and 50% were paid to high school athletes. Statistics show that using helmets impedes irreparable brain injuries although concussions do happen.

It isn't necessary for women's lacrosse athletes to wear extensive protective gear. The occasional contact in women's lacrosse makes equipment like helmets and chest padding unnecessary. Protection of the face, eyes and mouth, are a necessity while some female players like to wear nose guards and a non-padded style glove.

It's important for parents and coaches of lacrosse players to understand the common injuries of the sport. Understanding which injuries are the most probable will lead to better immediate treatment and a shorter recovery period for the lacrosse athlete.
About the Author
Kalynn Amadio is a Lacrosse enthusiast. See her comprehensive informational website, Lacrosse-Information to learn more valuable tips on How to Play Lacrosse.
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