Helmets have no place in girls lacrosse


Photo credit: Lei Anne Rabeje

By Annabel Ives, Staff Writer

In 2017, New York state offered girls lacrosse players the option to wear helmets. Some athletes argue that these helmets will make the game safer on the rare occasion a girl gets checked or hit in the head with a ball. In those instances, helmets would protect players from getting a concussion. However, girls lacrosse is a non-contact sport, so these injuries are rare and there are numerous rules that protect female athletes from getting hit in the head. Throughout the past season, debates and studies over the rule change took place, but nothing has changed for the 2018 season. The disadvantages of helmets in girls lacrosse outweigh the small benefit, and therefore they should not be worn.

There is no proof that these helmets would actually prevent concussions. According to US Lacrosse, “No headgear or helmet in any sport has been proven to prevent concussions,” which includes lacrosse. Multiple studies have shown that in sports like football and boys lacrosse, where head to head contact is more common, helmets do little to protect players from concussions. The threat of concussions is especially prevalent for younger players, so why would it be any different in girls lacrosse? There are numerous downsides to helmets in girls lacrosse. Due to the fact that only some girls would wear helmets, head to head collisions would become more dangerous to those not wearing them.

With the addition of helmets, violence would be promoted. Now that the athletes’ heads are protected, a check to the head will not hurt them as much, giving players an excuse to do take a more aggressive approach in an attempt to play defense. As of now, a check to the head is still against the rules, but, “The girls with the helmets are usually the most aggressive and foul the most because they think that their head is protected,” said lacrosse player Isabelle Thomas. These girls are more likely to check, be aggressive on the draw, and shoot farther out, all of which can be dangerous. This changes the nature of the game, but more importantly, there is always the possibility that the helmets will not offer enough protection.

On the other hand, it has been argued that girls with multiple concussions should wear helmets to prevent them from getting a serious head injury. As stated before, there is no proof that these helmets actually prevent concussions and in some cases, they may even make them more common. As a member of the varsity lacrosse team, Sophomore Leah Holmes said, “for some, it could be necessary so they don’t get more concussions, but I don’t think that it was that big of an issue before.” She went on to talk about the possibility of more concussions if a girl with a helmet collides with a girl without a helmet.

Some players say that since boys wear helmets, girls should as well. However, boys and girls lacrosse are completely different games. “The main difference between girls and boys lacrosse is the contact,” said senior lacrosse player Bobby Hite. Boys wear helmets because they are allowed to check the body, whereas in girls lacrosse, they can only check the stick and in specific circumstances.  

Senior Chad Lasseter added that there are also major positional differences between the two games regarding contact. One of the main concerns among girls lacrosse players is that the game and positions will change to a more physical sport with the addition of helmets. “As long as the game stays the same, physicality wise, then helmets are not necessary and provides a nuisance to the players,” agreed Lasseter.

Girls lacrosse is a sport that should be played without helmets. Helmets have not been proven to help prevent the possibility of concussions, and in some cases may even worsen the injuries between a helmet wearer and one without a helmet. Allowing helmets in girls lacrosse promotes violence because girls believe they can be more aggressive towards the other players. The girls without helmets are more susceptible to injuries from that violent play promoted by the helmets. Head to head collisions have become more dangerous. Helmets make the game more dangerous and are not necessary for any girls lacrosse players to wear.