Last month, the Florida High School Athletic Association became the first to enact a state-wide rule requiring women’s lacrosse players to wear protective head gear. The decision has led to a heated, nationwide debate.
The debate stems from two main factors. First, women’s lacrosse, unlike men’s, is a non-contact sport and should not require such protection. The second concern is the headgear Florida requires is more of a headband and unlikely to provide much protection.
Currently in Oregon women’s lacrosse, players wear goggles for eye protection, but soft head gear is optional, according to Goducks.com
Kenzie Ryding, a senior on the Oregon women’s club lacrosse team, is not in favor of the rule.
“Once they start getting into the territory of helmets, there won’t be that finesse that women’s lacrosse has,” Ryding said.
Ryding has played lacrosse for five years, and she feels that if head gear is going to be added at all, then it should be full helmets and players should be allowed contact.
It’s not only players who are against the rule, though.
Referee and Oregon women’s club lacrosse head coach Cristen Shope said she believes that officials in Florida “acted prematurely” by accepting the rule before all of the facts on head injuries and concussions in the sport were known.
“If you play to the rules,” said Shope, “then concussions are not an issue.”
Shope said that if players have this kind of protection they may being to play more aggressively. The players could begin to rely on the head gear to protect them rather than wearing it as a precautionary measure.
“Let’s wait for science to catch up,” said Shope. “But until then it’s up to coaches and officials to educate the players.”
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