Experts mull value of helmets in girls' lacrosse

BALTIMORE - The National Football League has taken the issue of concussions and long term effects and placed them in the front of our social awareness. Sports programs on all levels are being educated on concussions.  

But until now the focus has mainly been on male sports.

Maryland Delegate Jon Cardin wants to broaden the discussion to include head protection in female sports, particularly women's lacrosse. He is sponsoring House Bill 1123 which would require all athletic associations to provide helmets to girls 19 and under playing lacrosse.

Women's lacrosse play is protected by stricter rules and there is less physical contact allowed. Men are outfitted with helmets but woman only have goggles which don't protect the head, only the face.

" How do we make sure that we're doing everything we can not only to allow young athletes to realize the potential but also to make sure they're protected and that their parents feel that they're putting them in an environment that's as safe as possible?" Cardin asks.

While more protection seems like a good idea, a sports injury professional says they could have an adverse effect.

"If you look at the NCAA data, of the 27 sports that they follow, women's lacrosse is in the lower third of overall injuries. Ok, so a very safe sport," Hinton said. "Sort of the seemingly simple answer of putting women in mens' lacrosse helmets and having them play a game that is more similar to mens' lacrosse will astronomically increase the overall injury burden for women's lacrosse."

So is there a need for a state law on helmet use to decrease the chance of concussions?

That seems yet to be determined, but experts agree that discussion of safety that doesn't damage the integrity of the game is a good thing.

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