In March, we wrote a story on the Bullis High School girls lacrosse team wearing helmets. Head Coach, Kathleen Lloyd, made it mandatory for every girl on the team to wear helmets after nine players received concussions the previous season. The Bullis Bulldogs wore custom rugby helmets. The article (girls lacrosse helmets) generated a lot of buzz. Today, Newsday revealed Brown University will be conducting the first helmet study for girls lacrosse. Brown University in Rhode Island will be simulating physical play with crash dummies used as the test subjects.
Project director Joseph “Trey” Crisco, a professor of orthopedics at Brown, states:
So we decided to use dummies, like they use in car crash simulations,” Crisco said. “We have a model and we will have girls lacrosse players from the [Rhode Island] area come into our lab and whack away from different angles. They’ll be whacking on the top of the ‘head’ and the side of the ‘head.’ They’ll use the tip, the shaft and the middle of the stick so we can determine the severity of stick checks.
Head injuries in the women’s game have steadily risen over the years. A number of factors could have contributed to this such as the aggressive style of play or maybe because more people are playing than ever before. The American Journal of Sports Medicine recorded video incident analysis of head injuries in high school girls’ lacrosse. In the 25 public high schools of 1 school system, 529 varsity and junior varsity girls’ lacrosse games were videotaped by trained videographers during the 2008 and 2009 seasons. Video of head injury incidents was examined to identify associated mechanisms and game characteristics using a lacrosse-specific coding instrument. They found 25 head injuries, including 21 concussions and four contusions (bruises).
Brown University plans to conduct their study the third week of July. It will be interesting to see what they find in their study. It will be even more interesting to see how people react to the findings. To wear a helmet or not wear a helmet? Will teams take a page out of Bullis’ book or will they continue to play sans helmet? Should girls where helmets or not? Tell us what you think in the comments section below.