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Protective Goggles Rule in Girls Lacrosse Supported By Study

Significantly higher rate of head, face and eye injuries among girls before rule

The 2005 rule by US Lacrosse requiring female lacrosse players to wear protective goggles came not a moment too soon, A study reported in the February 2007 issue of The American Journal Sports Medicine of injuries to high school and collegiate lacrosse players in the 4 year period (2000 to 2003) before the mandate went into effect found that high school girls and college women suffered a significantly higher rate of HFE (head, face, and eye) injuries than boys and college men.

A significantly higher proportion of the HFE injuries suffered by high school girls and college women were to the nose and eyes, commonly in the form of fractures and contusions.

The study authors said the difference in injury patters was "most likely because of the lack of any required head/face protection other than a mouth guard" for female lacrosse players versus the protection offered high school boys and college men by helmets with face masks and mouth guards.

The study found that while high school girls and college women suffered fewer concussions than boys and men, most were due to stick-to-body contact or while catching the ball or passing. "The use of mandatory protective eyewear in the women's game, enforcement of current rules of play [which do not allow physical contact], and improvement of players' skills [in stick handling] may effectively reduce these injuries," concluded the study authors.

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