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The Women’s Lacrosse Helmet Controversy

The+Florida+High+School+Athletic+Association+replaced+the+women%27s+lacrosse+goggles+on+the+left+with+the+helmet+on+the+right.+
The Florida High School Athletic Association replaced the women's lacrosse goggles on the left with the helmet on the right.

The Florida High School Athletic Association replaced the women's lacrosse goggles on the left with the helmet on the right.

Photo Credit Kelly Hazlett

Photo Credit Kelly Hazlett

The Florida High School Athletic Association replaced the women's lacrosse goggles on the left with the helmet on the right.

Kelly Hazlett, Staff

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Women’s lacrosse, a non-contact sport, has been criticized by what some view as a lack of equipment. This call for an equipment modification is due to an increase in concussions. The Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) decided to take action by implementing a helmet requirement rule. This implementation replaces the previous Florida equipment requirements of goggles and halos (padded headbands).

U.S. Lacrosse, however, has no such helmet mandate. Goggles and mouth gaurds are the sole protectors, although helmets are still an option for all other non-Florida high school women’s lacrosse players. Given the option, many feel that the helmets provide a false sense of security and encourage aggression rather than safe and proper play. This added aggression, in turn, could potentially change the culture of the game.

Opposition for the helmets contend that rather than correctly teach women’s lacrosse players how to check (hitting the stick of the player with the ball in attempt to dislodge it), the helmets could provide a larger opportunity for concussions than previously seen. Players could potentially be more relaxed in their checking technique, which can be dangerous. For example, football’s implementation of helmets increased head to head collisions, and hockey experienced the same results. The added protection essentially made athletes more combative. Helmets often can protect skull fractures, but no helmet can stop the brain from sloshing around when taking a hard hit.

Additionally, in Brevard county, lacrosse is not a district sponsored sport. This means that lacrosse can be rather pricy to play, as there is a $250 player fee that covers many aspects of the sport like lighting for the field. In addition to this fee, players must also have a $30 U.S. Lacrosse membership, a stick which can range anywhere from $80-$150, a mouth guard, and now a $100-$150 helmet. Many of these fees can be waived with sponsorships, but the large price tag can deter many potential players.

On the other hand, Satellite High varsity girls lacrosse captain, Peyton Turinetti, feels that helmets are “good because of how much contact there is and because of how many girls were getting concussions.” Similarly, 3 year varsity player, Maile Haire, added that when she initially heard about the helmet rule, she “didn’t feel that they were [going to] do much,” but she quickly changed her mind once she tried it. Haire added that she feels safer because she’s more protected in the game, calling helmets “a plus all around.”

As the Satellite High School women’s lacrosse team begins games with the helmets, they will be able to see what kind of changes the helmets bring. After 4 years of playing high school lacrosse, Turinetti felt that the helmets give her “peace of mind” in the notoriously aggressive sport. Despite complaints of mild headaches due to the one-size-fits-all helmets, they seem to get a positive consensus from Satellite lacrosse.

With this major change, all eyes of the lacrosse world will be on Florida. Which states will follow Florida’s example?

About the Contributor
Kelly Hazlett, Staff
I’m Kelly Hazlett and am thrilled to join the Telstar team for my senior year. In my free time I like to sing, play lacrosse, and quote John Mulaney.
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