Head Accelerations from Various Stick Checks in Girls Lacrosse: a surrogate impact and pilot field study

Principle Investigator: J.J. Trey Crisco, PhD

Institution: Brown University and Rhode Island Hospital

Title: Head Accelerations from Various Stick Checks in Girls Lacrosse: a surrogate impact and pilot field study

Abstract: Girl’s lacrosse is an incidental contact sport in which the only protective gear that is mandated are mouth guards and eye wear. The disparity between the protective gear worn by girls and the helmet, shoulder pads, arm pads, and gloves worn by boys has heighten the public concerns over the risk of injury in girl’s lacrosse. The public is not always well informed about the significant differences in the rules between girl’s and boy’s lacrosse. Moreover, catastrophic head injuries for which helmets are designed to prevent, have not been recorded in girl’s lacrosse. Nontheless head protection in girl’s lacrosse is a current and important topic in the nation’s fastest growing sport. Informed decisions by governing bodies, rule making bodies, coaches and parents on protective equipment must be based upon scientific evidence. To date there is little scientific evidence on head impacts and acceleration in girl’s lacrosse.

The overall goal of this project is to determine head accelerations experience in girl’s youth and high school lacrosse. This goal will be accomplished with two specific aims.

Specific Aim 1: To determine surrogate head accelerations associated with various stick check severities performed by youth and high school female lacrosse players.

Specific Aim 2: To determine head accelerations experienced by youth and high school female lacrosse players during selected scrimmages.

Our approach to similar goals in football and ice hockey has utilized in-helmet sensors that measure head acceleration during all practice and games. Since helmets are not worn in girl’s lacrosse we have taken a modified approach. In Aim 1 we will use a surrogate headform as our experimental instrument and in Aim 2 we will provide the girl’s with modified instrumented ice hockey helmet liners. These will be worn during scrimmages specifically selected for the study. Practical reasons, primarily cost and compliance, do not permit the wearing of these helmets for extended periods in girl’s lacrosse. Thus Aim 1 and Aim 2 will provide a bracket on the values of head accelerations likely to be seen in girl’s youth and high school lacrosse.

Significance: This will be the first study to undertake measurement of head acceleration in girl’s lacrosse. The data collected will be highly significant due to its novelty and its importance for current issues related to head protection in this fast growing sport.