New girls lacrosse helmet creates controversy

BY CHLOE WAIN

As the lacrosse season inches closer to its first game, the girls lacrosse team has started to prepare for the upcoming season in January, but a new rule can change the way high school lacrosse is played forever; the new The Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) regulation for Florida girls lacrosse players asks players to comply with the new requirements for helmets.

FHSAA has decided that beginning in the 2018 season, all female lacrosse players will be required to wear a helmet during games. Florida is the only state to have required these helmets, which may lead to a change in the sport’s popularity as the season plays out.

The basic equipment requirements for high school players are mouth guards and helmets, which will have padded goggles attached to the interior of the helmet. Previously, players needed to wear padded goggles and a concussion band placed above the goggles.

“I do not think helmets will make a big difference,” senior goalie Melanie Louis said. “The rule has been put in place to help the players of this game have less injuries, since concussions are extremely common.”

Multiple players have shown their concerns about the potential for the rule to create a less harmful perception of the sport, which may cause the referee to call less fouls during the game.

“Not that it happens often, but if a player should accidentally get hit in the head with a stick, there is an immediate reaction by the player being hit,” Head Coach Corey Engelhard said. “By wearing helmets, there may be no reaction. The whistle may not get blown because the referee is unaware of the contact being made, inherently making the game more dangerous.”

Players have also communicated concern dealing with the possibility of helmets affecting their vision during the game.

“I am not the biggest fan of the helmets, I think they might hurt some of the vision aspect of the game and the importance of being able to keep your head on a swivel,” senior attacker Emmalee Forristall said. “The helmet may cause players to not see as far since you cannot adjust the goggles, and you maybe cannot see from the edge of your eyes.”

State athletic associations can make their own decisions on more equipment such as the FHSAA in creating the requirement for extra protection. From first requiring special padded goggles, to a special concussion bands, and now to helmets, this game has come a long way for keeping the players as safe as possible.

The debate is whether these helmets will benefit players in the game or can create problems. The main priority is to make sure these players stay safe and healthy, even if it causes the game to be harder to participate in than ever before. Even if the helmets cause more problems than they resolve, the team is prepared for anything that may come with being required to use these helmets this season.

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