Mandated Headgear Decreases Lacrosse Concussions

HealthDay News — A statewide headgear mandate (HM) for high school girls’ lacrosse is associated with a lower concussion rate, according to a study published online Aug. 24 in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

Daniel C. Herman, M.D., Ph.D., from the University of California at Davis, and colleagues compared concussion rates among high school girls’ lacrosse players in Florida, which has a headgear mandate, to rates among players from 31 states without a headgear mandate (NHM).

The researchers identified 141 concussions (HM, 25; NHM, 116) and 357,225 athletic exposures (AEs; HM: 91,074 AEs; NHM: 266,151 AEs) across all games and practices for 289 total school seasons (HM, 96; NHM, 193). Overall, the concussion injury rate was higher in the NHM cohort (0.44 per 1,000 AEs) versus the HM cohort (0.27 per 1,000 AEs; incidence rate ratio, 1.59; 95 percent confidence interval, 1.03 to 2.45). During games, the incidence rate ratio was higher for the NHM cohort (1.74; 95 percent confidence interval, 1.00 to 3.02); however, this association was not seen during practices (1.42; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.71 to 2.83).

“The results of this study are highly encouraging for athlete safety in high school girls’ lacrosse,” the authors write. “However, a measure of caution should be employed given that this study did not employ randomization or comparisons of injury rates pre- and postmandate within the state of Florida.”

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