As a high school coach as well as youth coach (Lacrosse & Football) my paramount concern before we step on the field is player safety. Ask any coach and official what the most important thing is and they should answer unanimously SAFETY. If you do not have a safe environment to play in you will run the risk of injury to all the players and possibly the fans and officials.
The GHSA (Georgia High School Athletic Association) takes great pains to insure all coaches are trained in first aid, CPR and Concussion awareness along with many other safety precautions. Some schools actually make all their coaches take first aid, CPR courses to maintain standards. Each year every GHSA certified coach most take a concussion class in order to keep their GHSA coaching certificate in good standing. This is a very important step to keep all of our players safe. US Lacrosse does a fantastic job with their Science and Safety Committee (click on link US Lacrosse Concussion) with several presentations regarding concussions.
With over 40 years of playing and coaching the game of lacrosse I have seen my share of concussions. While I never received a concussion in lacrosse I did receive four while playing football. I can say that lacrosse is much safer then other sports when it comes to this dilemma. There have been many advances in concussion awareness and protocol. The link below is an article from Patrick McEwen of Inside Lacrosse. It shows how simple rule changes (not targeting the neck and head) have lowered the cause of concussions in Men’s Lacrosse. Patrick will be writing a follow up article showing the data from high schools in the coming weeks which I will share when it comes out.
As a player and a coach I have seen the advancement in the game from equipment and rule changes. I believe one of the reasons why I did not get a concussion in lacrosse versus football is the helmet I used in lacrosse was very flimsy (see picture below). There was no way you would use your head as a weapon wearing something like this. My football helmet (actual picture below) that I used in high school, college and two years of semi-pro football was made of hard plastic which gave me the belief that I could become a missile or projectile when playing the game of football.
Concussion are very serious injuries and should be handled appropriately by doctors, trainers and medical professionals. I have seen and observed many concussion symptoms during my years as a coach and the data and methods to identify concussions has come a long way for the good of our student athletes.
Please take a minute to review these web sites mentioned in this article which will allow you to make informed decisions regarding your son or daughter.
See yah on the field…Coach Lou