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Take steps to limit concussions

Concussions are becoming a big part of lacrosse, and there are a number of ways to reduce them.

First of all, there are some real nicely designed helmets out there. They have as much padding inside as football helmets. They might be slightly heavier than the lacrosse helmets, but after a while, players rarely notice the difference. These helmets might cost more money, but are worth the price.

I also think that the officiating groups that govern lacrosse should get together and either administer more penalties for blows to the head, or just give out ejections. Right now, blows to the head are subjective calls, just like facemasking penalties were in the NFL. There were five-yard penalties for some facemasks, and 15 yards for others. Now, the NFL has ruled that all facemask penalties are 15 yards. That's the way it should be in lacrosse with blows to the head.

Finally, coaches need to be challenged. We live in a bloodthirsty world. We teach kids to play for the big hit, the "kill shot." That's wrong. It's one thing to teach a kid to be physical, another to allow them to take out other players intentionally. I've often seen kids walk to the sideline after a late, cheap shot, and the coaches don't say anything. We really need to do a better job of educating players about safety.

Lacrosse is a great game, but the number of concussions in the sport are rising. They'll keep going up until we make some changes, or unfortunately, until some kid really gets seriously hurt.

-- Mike Preston

Posted by Ron Fritz at 1:40 PM | | Comments (1)
        

Comments

I'm an old lacrosse player (30). Well, old enought to have played college lacrosse as a freshmen with the old, well-padded, solidly constructed Bacharach helmets (that replaced the really old Bacharach helmets with little padding that we wore in rec league and early high school if we could -- they looked much cooler). I then played the rest of my college career with the 'new' 'kayak' style helmets that everyone now plays with. While the new helmets are lighter and cooler looking, they are useless in preventing head injuries. Hits -- body checks or stick slashes -- to the head that wouldn't bother you in the old helmets would ring your ears in the new ones. I noticed an increase in concussions when those helmets first came out, and it seems only to have continued. I'm surprised others haven't questioned the safety of these helmets.

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About Faceoff
Faceoff is The Baltimore Sun's blog devoted to college and high school lacrosse. Faceoff contributors include Sun reporters Edward Lee, Mike Preston and Katherine Dunn.
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