Through the years of women’s lacrosse, there have been tremendous changes. One change that may affect women’s lacrosse today is helmets, which women aren’t wearing as of now. For the past year there has been much controversy about these helmets. Years ago, women didn’t have to wear goggles, a source of eye protection, while they were playing lacrosse; they just wore mouth guards. Now, women have to wear goggles and a mouthpiece. Right now it is legal to wear this headgear, but it is optional to players. US lacrosse is thinking about adding to this rule and having youth and adult lacrosse players wear helmets.

The Two Helmets

There are two types of women’s lacrosse helmets on the market right now. One helmet is the Cascade LX headgear. The cascade helmet is smaller than a men’s lacrosse helmet and has integrated goggles. The other helmet is the hummingbird headgear. This type of headgear differs from the Cascade lx. It does not have integrated goggles; you are able to wear goggles of your choice along with the helmet. Both of the helmets are similar to bicycle or hockey helmets, but have a more flexible shell. They differ from men’s lacrosse helmets because they don’t cover your whole face. Women’s headgear covers from the back of your head to the bridge of your nose. Cascade lx headgear costs $149 and has a face mask that covers the player’s eyes. Hummingbird headgear costs $139 and does not have integrated goggles, you use your own or have to buy new goggles.

Why are women’s lacrosse helmets necessary?

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s information, women’s and men’s lacrosse was ranked no.13 in terms of sport injuries like concussions that required trips to the emergency room for lacrosse players between 13-17 years old. Between 2002 and 2014, there was an average of 5830 injuries; most of these injuries were head injuries. Helmets can help prevent these injuries according to Dr. Jeffrey Kutcher, a neurologist . “I would recommend the use of headgear because I see injuries that are preventable,” Kutcher says in the New York Times.

Why isn’t women’s headgear necessary?

“When they didn’t have helmets and they were wearing no facemasks, you didn’t have as many head injuries because you weren’t going after the head, I think once you put a helmet on, it’s almost like everybody says, ‘We can go after your head because you have a helmet on.’ I think that’s what they’re trying to avoid,” says Scott Marr, a men’s lacrosse coach from Albany. This states that women weren’t trying, or even thinking about making contact to the head without any protection. If women put on helmets, the game might become more dangerous because if you hit someone in the head, they have protection, so it may become a habit and cause more injury. St. Thomas Aquinas coach Samantha MacCurdy said, while being interviewed by the New York Times, “I think it’s going to make us more aggressive. I think a few more things the refs are going to let slide because we have the helmets on.” As you can see, another lacrosse expert believes women should not wear helmets. She also thinks that referees will let fouls slide because of the protection. Kate Gilliam, a women’s lacrosse player, does not like the comfort level of the Cascade lx headgear. She says, “The comfort level of the helmet is not good at all. It is very uncomfortable to wear, which I think limits the player’s playing ability when they are wearing it.” This proves that some players don’t enjoy wearing the headgear. Helmets can get a player’s mindset thinking about their head instead of the game. It seems that women’s lacrosse headgear is more of a flop than a flip.