ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Erin Foster was running toward a groundball at an indoor lacrosse game when she was pushed, sending her unprotected head into a wall.
“It basically cracked my scull,” the 20-year-old Ann Arbor Pioneer High School graduate recalled. “They said it was a traumatic head injury, a level up from a concussion. I had to have surgery that night and I still have a scar on my head.”
Would a helmet, like the ones worn by male lacrosse players, have helped?
Helmets are not a required piece of equipment worn by women who play high school or college lacrosse. Just this year, the National Federation of State High School Associations allowed the optional use of two models of headgear beyond the padded headbands familiar to fans and players of the game.
According to Consumer Product Safety Commission data, lacrosse (both genders) was ranked No. 13 in terms of sports injuries that required trips to the emergency room for athletes between the ages of 13-17. Between 2002 and 2014, there were an average of 5,830 such injuries each year, and the most common injury was to the head ; female athletes were just 26.4 percent of the total.
In 2018, Florida will become the first state to mandate high school female lacrosse players wear protective equipment over their entire head. At least one coach there, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, isn’t in favor of the move.
“I do think eventually it is going to make things worse,” St. Thomas Aquinas coach Samantha MacCurdy said. “I think it’s going to make us more aggressive. I think a few more things the refs are going to let slide because we have the helmets on.
Image Source: laxallstars.com and nytimes