Letter: Female lacrosse players should be allowed helmets

By on November 11, 2010

How many fingers am I holding up? What’s today’s date? Where are you?

For those on the receiving end of a head injury during a sports game, these are common questions asked by a team doctor or physician. Head injuries, especially concussions, are the new epidemic in sports.

The National Football League is trying to solve this problem. When players make a helmet-to-helmet hit, they get fined. When players receive a head injury in a game, they have to be evaluated and cleared before rejoining that game. If they have a concussion, they can’t play the next week without being cleared by a team doctor and a neurologist.

While concussions may have received the most attention in football, they are an issue in many other sports, including lacrosse.

Men’s lacrosse is a high-intensity sport. Players have to be fit to run back and forth across a field that’s nearly the size of a football field. People whack players with their sticks and push each other to the ground. There are constant battles for loose balls. And there is one last thing: balls, when shot by a player, fly through the air at high speeds. All of this means that in men’s lacrosse, players are allowed to wear a helmet. It goes all the way around the head, and on the front of it is a facemask that protects the face while, at the same time, letting players see the action unfold. It protects them from concussions and other head injuries.

But here’s the strange thing: In women’s lacrosse, players don’t have a helmet that goes around the entire head. They get a facemask. That’s it. Women would wear helmets, of course, but they are not allowed. In their games, there still is high intensity with running, whacking, pushing, and balls zipping fast through the air. It’s the same hard ball used in men’s lacrosse. The lack of a full helmet leaves the back of a girl’s head susceptible to an errant stick or a ball.

Here’s my question: Why are boys allowed the privilege to wear helmets and girls just get a facemask?

It is not fair. Head injuries can affect the rest of a person’s life, so by not letting women wear helmets, it could be jeopardizing their futures, both in the short and long term.

How can allowing women’s lacrosse players to wear helmets hurt? It’s not a safety hazard or a way to cheat. It protects the players more. The one thing we all hate to see in sports is people getting injured and people’s careers ending due to more injury. Well, there are more chances for a female lacrosse player to get injured rather than a male lacrosse player.

The rules need to be changed to allow women’s lacrosse players to wear helmets too.

Nick Philips
Sophomore at Kaneland High School