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Archive for February 5, 2021

Feb. 5, 2021 — A retrenchment when it comes to girls’ lacrosse and helmets

In 2013, the school board for Princeton (N.J.) mandated headwear for field invasion sports such as soccer, field hockey, and girls’ lacrosse.

It is a mandate which did not last very long.

And now, it looks like the same thing is about to happen with Bedford (N.H.). A year ago, the school board voted 3-2 to mandate helmets for play, but the mandate never went into effect because the Coronavirus ended New Hampshire’s girls’ lacrosse season before it even began.

In recent days, it was revealed that a petition against lacrosse helmets has received more than 400 signatures, and the school board is scrambling to justify its original decision.

“I support the voluntary use of helmets and that the decision to wear a helmet in women’s lacrosse should be with the parents or the player until such time as the sport, (New Hampshire Interscholastic Athletic Association) or U.S. Lacrosse mandates it with corresponding rule changes,” junior Julian Bell tells The Manchester Union-Leader.

The groundswell of support, from the team, the coaching staff, and within the school, has seemingly caught the school board off-guard. Instead of referring to any new data to justify the continuation of the helmet mandate, board members are using old arguments.

“I can’t believe in any kind of real-world situation that not wearing a helmet is safer than wearing a helmet,” said pro-helmet board member Bill Foote.

The problem with this is that there is one immutable scientific fact about helmets when it comes to preventing injury. Helmets can help prevent injuries to the skull from flying objects, for sure. But there is a disclaimer decal on many sports helmets. The first line often reads, “This helmet does not prevent concussions.”

We’ll know more next Monday, when the school board is expected to revisit the mandate and put it to a potential vote.

Let’s see if this board respects the game and repeals the ban, instead allowing umpires and coaches to create a safe environment for girls’ lacrosse.