Lacrosse requires coordination and agility and is a fun way to get active and exercise. Just like any sport, it’s important to stay informed about potential injuries and how to protect yourself from them. Differences in rules between men’s and women’s lacrosse impact the types of injuries players get.
As in many sports, concussions are unfortunately a common injury in lacrosse. You can get a concussion from hitting your head on the ground or on a lacrosse stick or by colliding with another player. Since helmets aren’t worn in women’s lacrosse, women athletes are more likely to receive concussions.
There is a risk of injuries to the face when participating in lacrosse. Protective eyewear has been mandated in women’s lacrosse, aiding in preventing eye injury during the game. Lacrosse players usually wear mouthguards to protect themselves from dental and mouth injuries. Women sustain a higher percentage of facial injuries relative to male lacrosse players and this can be caused by improper equipment, lack of equipment, or lack of enforcement of rules. Helmets, body padding, and hand protection are not mandated for female players, unless they are a goalie. Since more protective equipment is worn in men’s lacrosse, facial injuries are less likely to occur.
Strains and Sprains
Ankle sprains are one of the most common injuries in both women’s and men’s lacrosse. Running and dodging players on the field can lead to sprains in the ankle, leg, and hips. Most of these injuries occur not from contact with another player, but from the way players twist and move while playing.
ACL injuries can occur in lacrosse because of the cutting and pivoting that occurs when running on the field trying to avoid opponents. Knee injuries can occur from illegal stick/object hit, ball contact with the body, and falling to the ground. Knee injuries are more common in women’s lacrosse. Sudden changes in direction and speed cause the knee to bend and stretch in ways that it’s not used to, resulting in a higher chance of injury.
Although fractures are less common in lacrosse, direct contact with other players, being hit by a lacrosse stick, and hitting the ground can cause fractures in various places on the body. The most common places to experience a fracture is in the wrist, hand, and thumb.
There are several injuries that can occur when playing lacrosse. Make sure you are following the rules, wearing proper protection, and staying hydrated to reduce the risk these potential injuries and any others. If you are injured, head to the closest Ortho On Call location for walk-in urgent orthopedic care. Most importantly of all, have fun and be safe!