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FHSAA looks to change the face of lacrosse

Olivia Carter, Editor-in-Chief

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Recently, the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) confirmed their requirement that protective helmets must be worn by girls’ lacrosse teams across the state for the upcoming season. Despite opposition from numerous lacrosse representatives and coaches, the FHSAA decided to officially mandate them for the 2017-2018 season after proposing the idea in early 2015. The ruling by the FHSAA to implement such a requirement can be deemed as both uneducated and ignorant for a number of reasons:

 

  • No research has proven helmets to prevent concussions. A concussion is brought on by a traumatic blow to the head which causes the brain to jolt through its protective liquid and bump the interior of the skull. Numerous studies have been conducted on teams that participate in high contact sports, and waves of scientists have concluded that while helmets can prevent an injury to the skull, it does little to protect the brain itself. The box that the helmet itself comes in even warns users that the gear does not prevent concussions.
  • The cost of helmets is a financial burden. The general helmet model that has been approved for play holds a steep cost of 140 dollars. Not only does this place a heavy load on a school that perhaps is struggling to fund athletics, but it also stresses families who have to buy the gear on their own. In addition, players would only be utilizing the helmet for three months of the year during high school season, since it is not required by club teams and leagues throughout the state.
  • They will impact the way the game is played. While girls’ lacrosse is a contact sport, it is nowhere near as physical as the boys’ game, where players are allowed to check and hit the opposing player’s body. However, with the addition of helmets, players will take more risks and become increasingly physical, as they will feel better “protected” with the added gear. Helmets will change the culture of the game and only incline girls to swing their sticks harder at a defenseless player, potentially causing even more injuries.
  • Opposition is nearly universal. I am not exaggerating when I say that I have not met one player or coach who is in favor of the mandatory helmet rule. In fact, a 289 page PDF petition supported and signed by countless coaches, parents, players, and officials was sent to the FHSAA recently in an attempt to reverse the ruling. In addition, U.S. Lacrosse, the governing body of the sport across the nation, has not mandated the protective gear for anyone whatsoever under their jurisdiction.

The fact of the matter is that there is literally no benefit to wearing helmets in girls’ lacrosse. The helmets are unflattering, uncomfortable, and ineffective. Quite frankly, my teammates and I are more likely to complain about a paper cut than we are to claim we do not feel safe playing the sport without a helmet. The decision was made by people who are not familiar with the sport and was rushed into place without consideration for those who are involved. It is imperative that the FHSAA analyze the backlash they have received from the lacrosse community and reevaluate the poor decision they have made immediately.

What do you believe is the most detrimental impact of helmets?

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FHSAA looks to change the face of lacrosse