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Sunday, May 1, 2022

helmet safety law sparks debate in Girls' lacrosse !!!

ICC World Cup is over ~ soon the Nation would get hooked to IPL, cheering for club teams ….. the non-performers would be forgotten.  Meantime, I have never heard of this earlier, touted as the ‘fastest sport on two feet’ – sometimes shortened to wlax or lax, a sport played with 12  players on each team.

The game is “Lacrosse”,  a team sport played using a small rubber ball  and a long-handled stick called a crosse or lacrosse stick. It is often played as a contact sport. The head of the lacrosse stick is strung with loose mesh designed to catch and hold the lacrosse ball. The  objective of the game is to score by shooting the ball into an opponent's goal, using the lacrosse stick to catch, cradle, and pass the ball to do so. Defensively, the objective is to keep the opposing team from scoring and to gain the ball through the use of stick checking and body contact or positioning.

Wlax is ‘women lacrosse’ - originally played by indigenous peoples of the Americas, the modern women's game was introduced in 1890.  The rules of women's lacrosse differ significantly from men's field lacrosse.  In nascent stages, geography and tribal customs dictated the extent to which women participated in these early games.

In USA, the news is that Cleveland State University will discontinue funding its 52-year-old wrestling program in fall 2016. The world's oldest sport will be replaced by men's lacrosse - the fastest growing college sport in the last decade. Its first season will start in the spring of 2017. The moves are a result of a "program prioritization process" led by Athletic Director that explored factors including funding, competitiveness and national trends, the university said in a statement.

~ and in another, a move in the name of safety sparks debate in Girls lacrosse !

Worried about the risk of serious head injuries in a sport where the players wield reinforced sticks and rifle shots with a hard, unyielding ball, Florida last month became the first state to require high school girls lacrosse teams to wear protective headgear. Again, this is not new or unique - Boys lacrosse teams nationwide have worn hard-shell helmets for many years. Girls, who play by vastly different rules that generally forbid contact, have historically spurned most protective gear. In Florida, where lacrosse is a new sport, state officials instead reasoned that all lacrosse players are at risk for head trauma and defied the sport’s traditionalists by mandating a soft form of headgear for everyone in a girls lacrosse game or practice.

But in a volatile example of how thorny and tangled the debate can become as communities nationwide implement new rules to protect the brains of young athletes, Florida’s mandate has created a combative firestorm that has reverberated across the country.  Ann Carpenetti, vice president of lacrosse operations at US Lacrosse, the sport’s national governing body, called Florida’s decision “irresponsible” and said the headgear decision could make the game more hazardous because it might embolden players to be more aggressive. Coaches across the state have panned the new rule. “It serves no purpose, other than being a costly distraction to parents and the players,” said Nikki Krakower, the coach of the girls team at Gainesville High School. “It’s ridiculous.”

Opponents of the mandate said the new rule was especially flawed because the Florida-approved headgear — the type used most commonly is a 10-millimeter-thick headband — is flimsy. “A headband is only going to prevent minor contusions and abrasions if they happen in the two inches the headband covers,” said Lynn Millinoff, the coach of the girls team at Buchholz High School in Gainesville. “But Florida officials seem to think they’re smarter than the entire rest of the lacrosse-playing world.” An online petition denouncing the new rule garnered more than 3,500 signatures.

Proponents of the rule point to data that shows that girls lacrosse has the fifth-highest rate of concussions in high school sports — only football, ice hockey, boys lacrosse and girls soccer rank higher. As the Florida High School Athletic Association board of directors was deliberating on whether to approve headgear, it heard emotional testimony from a mother whose daughter had sustained a devastating head injury while playing lacrosse.

Helmets, while universal in many contact sports, are a frequent source of controversy because of misconceptions about their protective value. Studies have generally indicated that helmets do not protect against many kinds of concussions, although they can help prevent certain kinds of concussions, as well as skull fractures. Most of the concussions in girls lacrosse occurred when players were struck by the ball or a stick, a finding Comstock said was highly relevant and helmets are very good at preventing direct transfer-of-force injuries.  It certainly does not sound a good logic to say that protection will create a gladiator effect !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

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