Lacrosse Study Tracking Injuries and Concussions in Kids (LAX-STICK)

Principal Investigator: Zachary Y. Kerr, PhD, MPH, Epidemiologist, Datalys Center, Co-PI

Institution: Datalys Center for Sports Injury Research and Prevention, Inc

Title: Lacrosse Study Tracking Injuries and Concussions in Kids (LAX-STICK)

Abstract: Lacrosse is one of the fastest growing team sports in the United States. Substantial research has focused on understanding the epidemiology of concussions among athletes at the collegiate and high school competitive levels. However, the recently released Institutes of Medicine report on sport-related concussions concluded that there are “limited data on the incidence of sports-related concussions among pre-high-school-age youth and among those playing in youth clubs and recreational sports.” Compounding the issue, few laboratories have the capacity to collect incidence data using the same methodology and technology across competition levels (i.e., youth, high school, college), thus further limiting comparisons.

Aims: This prospective observational study describes the epidemiology of sport-related injury experienced by male and female youth (U9—U15) Lacrosse players, with additional focus on concussions. Concussion rates, symptoms, and symptom resolution time by sex and age will be compared to data from the National Athletic Treatment, Injury and Outcomes Network
(NATION [high school Lacrosse student-athletes]) and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Injury Surveillance Program (ISP [collegiate Lacrosse student-athletes]).

Study Design: Observational Cohort.

Materials and Methods: The same standardized technology and methodology that was/is used for the Youth Football Safety Study, NATION, and NCAA-ISP will be employed by athletic trainers to report injuries and exposures experienced by youth Lacrosse players at both games and practices. In addition, concussion symptoms will also be collected at time of injury. Concussions at the youth level will be diagnosed by athletic trainers at the time of injury and confirmed through required physician follow-up. Approximately 1,100 youth Lacrosse players from three geographically diverse youth organizations/clubs that sponsor U9-U15 boys and girls Lacrosse will be recruited.

Main Outcome Measures: The number of players, frequency of injuries and exposures will be used to calculate player risk and rates of injury across all three levels of athletic competition. In addition, concussion symptoms and time to symptom resolution will be recorded. All calculations will be stratified and compared across three levels (youth, high school and collegiate) of competition. Additional strata will compare boys’ body-checking by comparing injury and concussion rates in the U13 and U15 versus U11 and U9 age groups.

Significance: This study will be the first to comprehensively report both practice and game injuries, concussions, concussion symptoms, and concussion symptom resolution time in youth Lacrosse. Additionally, this study will leverage lacrosse injury data from other injury surveillance programs to generate the first “apples-to-apples” comparison of these variables between youth (proposed study), high school (NATION) and college (NCAA) Lacrosse. This study is important to NOCSAE because these data will inform the current debate centered on the age of checking in boys Lacrosse and helmet use in girls Lacrosse, both of which may impact future NOCSAE initiatives.