Is Lacrosse A Full Contact Sport?

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Lacrosse is an exciting sports game that’s ever-growing in popularity - both for players and for fans. The versatile sport has different versions and can be played by men or women, and can be played outdoors or indoors. Regardless of where lacrosse is being played and by whom, some questions about it still arise.

Is Lacrosse a Full Contact Sport? Men’s lacrosse is classified as a full contact sport because players are allowed to stick check and body check. Women’s lacrosse is technically classified as a non-contact sport, although players are still allowed to stick check.

To give you a glimpse into the world of lacrosse, and to answer any questions, we’ve compiled all the information you need to know about lacrosse being a full contact sport - including the reasons why players wear protective gear. Let’s get into it!

Read Also: What Gear Do You Need For Lacrosse?

Lacrosse: a Full Breakdown of the Full Contact Sport

To understand how lacrosse is (and in some cases, isn’t) a full contact sport, it’s helpful to know more about the game itself and how it’s played.

To give you a play-by-play of lacrosse, we’ll walk you through what the sport actually is, how it’s played, the different versions of lacrosse, and which versions of lacrosse are classified as full contact sports and why.

What is Lacrosse? How is it Played?

It’s pretty likely that you’ve watched a game of lacrosse, known someone who plays lacrosse, or even played lacrosse yourself. You probably have at least a vague idea of what the game is and what it entails, but let’s take that a step further.

Lacrosse is a team sport in which players use a lacrosse ball and lacrosse stick to play the game. Players use the head of the stick, which bears a net at one end, to catch, carry, pass and shoot the lacrosse ball into a goal.

In full contact versions, players are allowed to “check” other players with their lacrosse stick and their body, meaning they can hit and disrupt the movement of other players.

Those are the basics of lacrosse and how it’s played, but we have even more specifics that can help you understand the sport and what’s considered full contact.

Different Versions of Lacrosse

Different versions of lacrosse matter because they determine how the sport is played, where it’s played, who it’s played by, what equipment is used, and if it’s full contact or not.

There are four main versions of lacrosse:

  • Field lacrosse
  • Women’s lacrosse
  • Box lacrosse
  • Intercrosse

Field lacrosse and box lacrosse are both played by men, women’s lacrosse is played by women, and intercrosse can be played by either. Additionally, field lacrosse is played outdoors, box lacrosse is played indoors, and women’s lacrosse and intercrosse can be played either outdoors or indoors.

Which Versions of Lacrosse are Full Contact Sports?

The different versions of lacrosse are played with different equipment, and therefore differ on if they are full contact sports.

As we mentioned earlier, men’s lacrosse (field lacrosse or box lacrosse) is generally full contact, and women’s lacrosse is generally non-contact. Intercrosse is also considered non-contact.

Lacrosse is classified as full contact depending on the type of equipment used and the types of contact that is allowed between players.

For example, in men’s lacrosse, both body checking and stick checking are allowed. This means players are allowed to use their lacrosse stick, their body, or both to disrupt a player’s movement and knock the ball away.

Since men’s lacrosse is considered a full contact sport, male lacrosse players wear and play with protective equipment (which we’ll discuss in depth later on).

Women’s lacrosse is considered a non-contact sport because body checking is not allowed, although stick checking is allowed. In women’s lacrosse, less protective equipment is worn.

Intercrosse is also considered a non-contact form of lacrosse. Intercrosse uses modified lacrosse equipment and a different, standardized set of rules which don’t allow for full contact in the sport.

Read Also: Is Lacrosse A Dangerous Sport?

Breakdown of Lacrosse Versions

To put this all into perspective in an easy to read way, we’ve compiled a table with all the basic information of the different types of lacrosse, like who they’re played by, where they’re played, and if they’re full contact or not.

Version of LacrosseWho Plays ItWhere It's PlayedFull Contact or Non-Contact?
Field lacrosseMenOutdoorsFull contact
Box lacrosseMenIndoorsFull contact
Women's lacrosseWomenOutdoors or indoorsNon-contact
IntercrosseMen or womenOutdoors or indoorsNon-contact

Lacrosse Protective Gear: Why Players Wear It and What They Wear

As you can see, there are two main versions of lacrosse that are full-contact sports. As we discussed earlier, lacrosse players playing a full-contact version of the sport need to wear and play with protective equipment.

Why exactly do lacrosse players wear protective gear? What gear do they wear? Do non-contact lacrosse players wear protective gear? We’ve got the answers to all these questions below!

Why Lacrosse Players Wear Protective Gear

Check out this complete guide to help you out choosing the right gear to start playing Lacrosse.

When it comes to lacrosse, two main versions of the sport are full contact. Full contact in lacrosse means that players can body check and stick check - meaning they can use their body, their lacrosse stick, or both to hit and disrupt the movement of another player.

Since lacrosse players can use their sticks and bodies to “check” other players, everyone involved needs to wear protective gear to decrease the risk of injury and make the sport safer.

Similarly to American football, in lacrosse, really any body part is at risk of being “checked” and hit. Protective gear can help players stay safe and not get hurt if they’re checked by a stick or by a player’s body.

Although women’s lacrosse and intercrosse are classified as non-contact, those players need to wear protective gear too. This helps them prevent and stay safe from any unexpected hits or injuries that could happen during play - which is common in all sports.

Protective Gear Worn by Lacrosse Players

You might be wondering just how much protective gear is worn by lacrosse players and specifically what protective gear is needed. Look no further, because we’ve got a breakdown of all the protective gear lacrosse players need!

Protective Gear for Full Contact Versions of Lacrosse

Although all lacrosse players will likely need some sort of protective gear, there is naturally quite a bit more protective gear worn in full contact versions of lacrosse than non-contact versions of lacrosse.

Full contact versions of lacrosse are played by men, and that’s something to keep in mind as we discuss the protective gear needed for the sports.

Lacrosse players engaging in full contact versions of the sport, like field lacrosse and box lacrosse, will need the following protective gear (Amazon links):

Protective Gear for Non-Contact Versions of Lacrosse

Even though versions of lacrosse like women’s lacrosse and intercrosse are considered non-contact, players still need to wear protective gear. You’ll notice that there are less types of gear needed, but many are the same.

Lacrosse players engaging in non-contact versions of the sport, like women’s lacrosse and intercrosse, will need the following protective gear (Amazon links):

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