Common Lacrosse Injuries
Jen Fox provides an overview of the history of Lacrosse, common injuries incurred when participating in the sport, how to reduce the risk of an injury and finally the treatment of injuries.
Lacrosse is a fast-paced game that is played with balls and nets mounted on long sticks. It is popular in schools, community leagues, and even professional teams across the United States and Canada; it is also gaining popularity in amateur leagues in the UK.
The game was originated by the native tribes on the American continent, and it went by several names including da-nah-wah'uwsdi (little war), tewaarathon (little brother of war), it was the French settlers that gave it the name Lacrosse. Some resources speculate that they used the skulls of their vanquished enemies, as well as clay, stone, and sometimes wood as the balls. The game was originally played by hundreds of players on fields that ranged from 500 yards to a couple of miles in length, and a single game could last for days. Traditional lacrosse was physically demanding, and players were often injured.
As European settlers appropriated the game for themselves, lacrosse transformed from a violent and spiritual training activity to a recreational activity. The fields got smaller, the duration of the game shortened, and the number of players was reduced. However, what remained the same were the physical demands of the game and the risk of injury.
Common Lacrosse Injuries
Lacrosse is considered a moderate risk sport, and most of the injuries are what you would experience in any other sport: sprains, strains, and bruises. However, there are also contact and non-contact injuries that are specific to lacrosse.
Head and face injuries can occur if a player is struck by the ball or the stick, this included concussions. Players can also suffer bodily injuries, such as sprains, tears, bruising, and even fractures, especially the wrists, if there is body to body or body to ground contact.
Joint sprains and strain, especially in the knees and ankles, are the most common lacrosse injury and are usually caused by the cutting and dodging movements during gameplay.
Hamstring strains and hip flexor strains are also common, and often the result of too forceful movement during gameplay. The combination of an upper leg strain and the activities associated with gameplay can also lead to lower back pain.
Shin splints and blisters are also very common injuries.
Some injuries are also more common among different genders, due to the different rules for gameplay. For example, women are more likely to experience head and face contusions than men.
Preventing Lacrosse Injuries
The best way to prevent injury is to make sure you have the right equipment in good condition, and in the right size. For adults, this means periodically checking your equipment for wear and tear and replacing or repairing it when necessary. For children, this means you will have to replace the equipment often as they experience growth spurts.
Because lacrosse equipment can be expensive, it might be tempting to try to alter existing equipment to get a few more months of use out of it, but that can be dangerous. Instead, consider purchasing equipment from shops that specialize in reselling used sports equipment; or finding an online retailer like Lacrosse Monkey, which specializes in lacrosse equipment and often has decent sales and discounts. You can consider doing an equipment exchange with fellow Lacrosse parents.
Other ways of preventing injury include:
If you find that you are injured, you should do the following:
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About the Author
Jen Fox is a freelance writer.
The following Sports Coach pages provide additional information on this topic: