Recreational Injury Interventions
Lacrosse is a physical sport that involves swinging sticks, high
speed projectiles, and fast running. Because of the nature of the game, lacrosse
athletes are particularly vulnerable to eye and head injuries. However, the use
of protective equipment in scholastic women's lacrosse has been inconsistent. Head
and face injury rates in the women's game, which is considered a non-contact sport
have been higher than in the men's game which is considered a contact sport, Webster et al, 1999. All head and face injuries are potentially catastrophic, therefore concerns
about safety and liability have increased in several states throughout the US. The
study below reviews the use of protective equipment in New York state female high
school lacrosse players.
Review of lacrosse studies:
Study design and target population
|Case control study.
Population: 693 players ages 13-18. High school
girls lacrosse teams in New York Section III.
|Data collected prospectively through
forms completed by coaches and athletic trainers for a 2 year period, 1995 and 1996.
Two types of goggles meeting ASTM impact
standards were used in 51,376 athletic exposures.
Data based on 77,947 athletic exposures.
|Use of protective eyewear, athletic
exposure, number of games and practices, location of injury.
|Overall head/face injury rate was 0.71 injuries per
1000 exposures (including games and practices).
Injury rate 16.5% lower in goggle wearers, and 51% lower in
goggle wearers in games alone, where more agressive play and stick use prevails.
Periorbit and forehead injuries among goggle users significantly
lower compared to non-users, 6% and 13% respectively.
Study quality and conclusions
|Protective eyewear substantially reduces head injuries
in high school female lacrosse players.
Reductions in periorbit and forehead
injuries among goggle users were severalfold.
Players not randomly assigned to use
protective eyewear. Useage of eyewear increased during the study.
Athletic exposure or the number of
games and practices an individual player participated in were not adequately
Only a few injuries appeared to be
mediated by the goggles themselves and potentially could have been more serious
if the goggles had not been present.
Summary of lacrosse studies
Use of protective eyewear or goggles appears beneficial, and may substantially
reduce head injuries in high school female lacrosse players. Injury rates for high
school girls lacrosse may be comparable to collegiate injury rates.
Recommendations on lacrosse
Standardized protective eyewear is becoming
more widely available and should be utilized to reduce head injuries on all levels
of lacrosse, including collegiate and scholastic. Recommendations extend to both
female and male athletes.
Recommendations for future
There is a definite need for
well-designed, large-scale randomized controlled trials (RCTs) to evaluate the effects
of protective equipment in reducing the incidence of injury in lacrosse players.
This is the only way that all the other confounders can be controlled for. Additionally,
there is a need for more epidemiologic studies to better understand lacrosse injury
risk factors and to determine appropriate injury prevention interventions for all