Are Lacrosse Injuries Common?

High school lacrosse injuries for boys and girls usually involve strains and sprains, abrasions and contusions. Believe it or not, a 2005 study published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine, concluded that lacrosse at the high school level was a relatively safe sport.

Lacrosse is listed by the NCAA as a "collision sport". That's the same category as ice hockey and football. Though unlike those sports, lacrosse has a lower rate of injury. This could be because Men's lacrosse players have to wear chest and shoulder pads, groin cups, helmets and padded gloves and elbows. Women's lacrosse injuries data does not show the need for helmets, but mouth guards and eye protection are required.

Common Injuries

Lacrosse injuries to the hands and wrists usually happen because of a direct blow. Although lacrosse gloves are padded they are not as cushioned as hockey gloves to give more flexibility to the fingers. When the fingers are trapped against the shaft during a blow, fractures can occur.

Shoulder separations and clavicle fractures often occur from collision with another player. Falling onto the shoulder is another common cause of injury to this area. The high rate of shoulder injuries compared to other contact sports is due to the particular nature of play. Actually, during game play, the shoulder is the most frequently injured body part.

The body parts most usually injured are the ankle, upper leg, and knee, which combined accounted for 48% of all lacrosse injuries. This is due to the fact that no pads are worn on the lower extremities. Knee injuries commonly happen in lacrosse because of quick pivoting to avoid an opponent by dodging or a cut step which strains the knees.

Protective Gear

Regulations that require the use of protective equipment have been set by both US Lacrosse and the NCAA to help protect the upper extremities and head. Although Men's lacrosse is thought of as violent, NCAA injury statistics do not support this claim. About 40% of all lacrosse injuries are non-contact related.

US Lacrosse data showed that 42% of insurance claims dollars were issued for knee injuries and 50% were paid to high school athletes. Statistics show that using helmets impedes irreparable brain injuries although concussions do happen.

It is not necessary for women's lacrosse athletes to wear extensive protective gear. The occasional contact in women's lacrosse makes equipment like helmets and chest padding unnecessary. Protection of the face, eyes and mouth, are a necessity while some female players like to wear nose guards and a non-padded style glove.

It is important for coaches and parents to be familiar with the most likely injuries to occur in practice or a game. Having an idea of ​​which injuries are the most common can lead to better treatment and a shorter recovery for the athlete.