With increased occurrences of concussions, girls lacrosse players consider the possibility of helmet use


Sasha Shapsis

Ginger Schwarz, senior, prepares to throw the ball to a teammate.

Five members of the Homestead girls lacrosse team have experienced concussions so far this year. Nationwide, girls lacrosse ranks fifth in number of concussions among high school sports, behind only football, ice hockey, boys lacrosse and girls soccer. As concussions continuously pose a threat to high school athletes, the question of helmet use in girls lacrosse becomes more urgent.

The main reason girls lacrosse players do not wear helmets is that boys and girls lacrosse have different rules regarding physical contact. In boys lacrosse, you can body and stick check as long as you obey the US lacrosse rules. In girls lacrosse, any kind of stick checks that hit the player will result in a penalty, which explains why girls wear less protection. Girls are required to wear eyewear, but headgear remains optional; however, in boys lacrosse,  helmets have been required for years.

Some players and coaches argue that if helmets are allowed for girls lacrosse, the players will feel safer and play more aggressively. Brown University received staunch opposition when the women’s team equipped their players with helmets. Several other NCAA coaches have expressed their opposition as they feel that the sport will become more physical and the rules for the two sports will merge.

The players at Homestead do not wear helmets mainly because due to the lack of comfort and mobility. However, Bridget Brown, sophomore, believes “helmets are good for girls lacrosse, especially because of the serious increase of concussions in the sport.” Brown further argues that “it is necessary that some sort of precaution be taken to combat the increased physicality in the girls game.”

Another aspect of the issue is whether the players would like to wear helmets. It is important to note that some girls are not fond of this idea.

“I personally would not consider wearing a helmet unless it was mandatory because I really like the visibility of my goggles, ” Brown said. 

Lindsey Schimpf, junior, agrees that there is a movement towards helmets. She has seen an increasing amount of helmets being worn by other schools yet, much like Brown, Schimpf would not want to wear one also due to the reasons aforementioned.  

The conundrum remains as concussions in girls lacrosse players remain high, yet the opposition still holds their strong position.

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