Is Lacrosse A Dangerous Sport?
When it comes to lacrosse, there’s full contact allowed between players, the use of hard sticks, and constant movement. Considering the nature of the sport, it’s no wonder many people have had questions and concerns about its safety.
Is Lacrosse a Dangerous Sport? Lacrosse is considered a moderate risk sport. This means that the majority of injuries that come from the sport are minor bruises, strains, and sprains. However, more significant injuries can still occur in lacrosse.
To make sure you’re aware of the potential dangers that can come along with lacrosse, we’ve put together the important basics you should know: if lacrosse is a dangerous sport, potential risks involved in playing lacrosse, and 10 facts about lacrosse safety.
Read Also: Lacrosse Goalie Gear
Is Lacrosse a Dangerous Sport? What You Should Know
No one would judge you if you raised concerns about lacrosse being a dangerous sport; just watching it can make you wonder if playing lacrosse is actually safe.
As you read previously, lacrosse is considered a moderate risk sport. This doesn’t put it at the top of the danger level with some high risk sports like motocross, gymnastics, and boxing, but it still involves some danger and risk.
To help you understand why lacrosse is considered a moderate risk sport, let’s walk you through some of the basics of lacrosse, like how it’s played and by whom.
Lacrosse is a team sport. At its core, lacrosse is played with a lacrosse stick and a lacrosse ball. Players use their lacrosse sticks which have a small net at one end to catch, pass, carry and shoot the lacrosse ball into a goal to earn points.
There’s a little bit more to it than that, though; in men’s lacrosse versions like field lacrosse and box lacrosse, body checking and stick checking is allowed. This means that players can use their lacrosse stick, their bodies, or both to disrupt the movement of other players.
Since players can check other players or be checked by other players, their bodies get hit. Not to mention, lacrosse players are still always moving even if/when they get hit. High contact is one of the biggest causes of dangers and injuries in lacrosse.
Women’s lacrosse is considered a non-contact sport, as body checking is not allowed. However, stick checking is still allowed, and players are still always moving and using equipment. Although women’s lacrosse isn’t full contact, it can still come with some risks.
Is Lacrosse a Dangerous Sport?
Lacrosse looks pretty dangerous from the sidelines, and most all of us can agree on that. However, as we mentioned, lacrosse is a moderate risk sport, meaning it comes with its own risks, but it’s not the most dangerous sport out there.
There are also a lot of safety mechanisms in place to make lacrosse a safer sport. Things like knowledgeable coaches and players, rule enforcement, and protective gear and equipment help make lacrosse less dangerous and more reliable for everyone involved.
10 Facts About Lacrosse Safety
Now that you know more about lacrosse, how it’s played, and some risks involved with playing the sport, we can get down to the real stuff: the facts. Below are 10 facts about lacrosse safety you’ll want to know - from things that make the sport more safe to some of the risks involved.
#1: Lacrosse Players Wear Protective Gear and Equipment
As we briefly mentioned earlier, men’s lacrosse is a full contact sport. Women’s lacrosse is a non-contact sport, but regardless of the version of lacrosse being played, players need to be protected.
Lacrosse players, especially male lacrosse players, wear protective gear and equipment to protect their bodies and lower the risk of injury while playing. Check this complete guide to know a bit more about Lacrosse gear.
All lacrosse players are required to wear some sort of protective gear, and there are even more types of gear that aren’t required, but that can help protect players and make lacrosse safer. Goalkeepers in lacrosse need to wear even more protective gear than their other teammates.
The protective gear worn by lacrosse players makes the sport safer and helps protect the players from potential risks and injuries.
Let’s put into perspective how much protective gear lacrosse players need and what they are.
Lacrosse players wear protective gear like (Amazon links):
- Helmets (not required for women’s lacrosse, but strongly recommended)
- Gloves (not required for women’s lacrosse, but strongly recommended)
- Eyewear (required in women’s lacrosse only)
- Shoulder pads (men’s lacrosse only)
- Athletic cup (men’s lacrosse only; not required but strongly recommended)
- Arm pads (men’s lacrosse only; not required but strongly recommended)
- Rib pads (men’s lacrosse only; not required but strongly recommended)
- Chest protector (required for goalkeepers)
- Throat protector (required for goalkeepers)
- Helmets with attached face guards (required for women’s lacrosse goalkeepers)
Lacrosse goalies wear a specific type of equipment. Take a look by clicking here at the comprehensive guide we made about goalies gear.
#2: Lacrosse is a Moderate Risk Sport
We mentioned this previously, but it’s worth mentioning again! Lacrosse is a moderate risk sport, meaning there’s a moderate risk of players sustaining injuries and the injuries that are sustained are mostly minor.
This risk is due to risk factors like high contact, faulty equipment and gear, and players not abiding by the rules.
#3: Most Injuries Sustained in Lacrosse are Minor
Most injuries that happen when playing lacrosse are minor; lacrosse players may endure bruises, strains and sprains. Like with almost any other sport, other (and more serious) injuries have happened while playing lacrosse, even though they aren’t as common.
The most common injuries that happen to lacrosse players are:
- Head and face contusion
- Ankle sprain
- Knee sprain
- Hip flexor strain
- Wrist sprain or fracture
- Lower back pain
As you can see, the common injuries lacrosse players sustain are unfortunate and serious, but they’re less serious than some other higher risk sports.
#4: Injuries are More Likely to Happen at Games than During Practice
If you’re wondering just when injuries might happen, we’ve got a fact for you: lacrosse injuries are more likely to happen at games than during practice.
That doesn’t mean injuries and issues might not arise during lacrosse practice - they can, and players should be aware of that. Injuries are just that much more likely to happen at a game.
#5: Knowledge About the Game and Equipment Increase Safety
This fact may go without saying, but having knowledge about lacrosse like how it’s played, what the rules are, what equipment is used, and how to properly use equipment increase the safety of the sport.
Knowing the rules of the game, how to follow them, and how to use equipment properly are some of the biggest safety tips for lacrosse players of all ages. Knowledge about the sport equals a safer sport for everyone.
#6: Lacrosse Coaches are Certified
The knowledge of the players of lacrosse goes hand in hand with the knowledge of lacrosse coaches.
Lacrosse coaches are (and should to be) certified in order to teach lacrosse to players of all ages. Lacrosse coach certification ensures coaches know the responsibilities that come with teaching and coaching lacrosse, as well as how to keep the game and players safe.
#7: Taking Breaks from Playing Lacrosse Helps Lower Risks and Injuries
Even the most passionate and professional sports players need breaks sometimes. It’s actually recommended that all lacrosse players should take at least one to two days a week and one to two months a year to take a break from the sport. This helps prevent injuries and burnout and lowers risk.
#8: Game Day Safety Precautions Should be Taken During Practice, Too
You read that injuries in lacrosse are more likely to happen during games than they are during practice. However, injuries can still happen during practice! For all sports (combined), about 62% of sports-related injuries happen during practice.
One of the biggest reasons for this is that game day precautions aren’t taken during practice, too - and they should be. It’s important for lacrosse players to take the same precautions and safety measures during practice as they would during a game.
#9: Male Lacrosse Players are Injured at a Higher Rate Than Female Lacrosse Players
Due to the different set of rules and the full contact classification of men’s lacrosse, male lacrosse players are more at risk of injury than female lacrosse players. Therefore, male lacrosse players are injured at a higher rate than their female counterparts.
Male lacrosse players will need to take that into account and ensure they’re taking all the proper safety precautions when playing.
#10: Lacrosse is the Fastest Sport on Two Feet
Playing lacrosse is no joke - it’s the fastest sport on two feet! Yep, you read that right. The speed at which lacrosse players engage in the sport combined with the potential for body and stick checking can be another risk factor that’s important to be aware of.