Serving the scholastic field hockey and lacrosse community since 1998

Apr. 30, 2017 — Two ads in one and how it could change women’s lacrosse forever

Over the last few days, I’ve seen on-line advertising trumpeting the new girls’ varsity lacrosse program at Bradenton IMG Academy (Fla.), which is being envisioned as lacrosse’s answer to the likes of Findlay Prep in boys’ basketball, Peddie in swimming, and St. Benedict’s in boys’ soccer.

And prominently perched on the head of the lacrosse player in the photo accompanying the ad is a spaceship-shaped contraption which looks like a padded halo for the player’s head.

Yep, because IMG Academy is located in Florida, they’re subject to the new Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) mandate that players wear headgear.

Because of this, the sport’s first American superprep team is being put in an unusual situation. The team will be recruiting players from all over the country to become better players, but will have to get used to a new piece of equipment in order to participate.

And it’s a piece of equipment whose injury protection value is scientifically suspect, as well as nearly nonexistent at the next level. This means a junior who matriculates to IMG to improve skills may actually not be ready for NCAA competition because of the imposition of the helmet. A Florida-prepped player is more likely to take unnecessary risks — both on offense and on defense — because a player assumes herself or an opponent won’t get hurt with the imposition of the headgear.

Now, there’s one other hazard with headgear, and it has everything to do with weather. Yesterday, I saw Harriton (Pa.), a team wearing heat-absorbing black helmets and black jerseys, score just one goal in the second half against Kennett Square Unionville (Pa.) in the Katie Samson Laxfest. The conditions in the second half were sunny, warm, and humid with some overnight rain, and wearing black from head to toe cannot have helped.

So, if a team in Pennsylvania can have this happen in the second half of a game, imagine what could happen in Florida.


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