What's Next? USL Safety Initiatives on the Horizon
This article appears in the October issue of Lacrosse Magazine, a special sports science and safety edition.
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As part of its commitment to player safety, US Lacrosse makes a significant annual investment in research studies and programs that could help provide greater understanding in both the mechanism and the prevention of lacrosse injuries. The organization's Sports Science and Safety Committee accepts and reviews funding requests and proposals before determining which projects to support.
A sampling of research initiatives currently being supported by US Lacrosse:
YOUTH VIDEO FILMING, CODING AND ANALYSIS
US Lacrosse filmed approximately 60 boys' and girls' youth games during its 2013 regional championship events that will be reviewed and coded for injury occurrences and rules violations. The data will then be compared to a 2011 study to analyze whether recent rule changes have reduced the incidences of injuries.
ACL INJURY PREVENTION
A pilot study has been developed and introduced to high school teams that involves a specific warm-up regimen to reduce the risk of ACL injuries. Preliminary data from the 2013 season is being reviewed to determine the effectiveness of the routine and to provide further guidance to parents and players.
CHEST PROTECTOR STUDY
To develop better understanding of commotio cordis, a study is in progress that measures the impact of lacrosse balls on mechanical surrogates that have been outfitted with chest protectors. The study could also have implications in the development of low-compression lacrosse balls.
EQUIPMENT FITTING GUIDE
US Lacrosse is developing a consumer-friendly booklet that will provide helpful hints to customers buying lacrosse equipment. These free resources will be made available to US Lacrosse members and to the general public at retail outlets nationwide.
HEAD IMPACT EXPOSURE
Research being conducted at Princeton and Stanford this fall will capture head acceleration measurements through electronic sensors placed on players' heads. This information could be helpful in assessing concussion risk and other head injuries. If the methodology is successful, the study may be expanded in the future to include youth players.
US Lacrosse is seeking to develop an educational program for youth athletes to help them make better nutritional choices. This program may be coordinated with a partner organization that shares a vision for a similar campaign.