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Hot Pot Of Lax: Concussions In Lacrosse

ACC head shot lacrosse
We call that chin music.

Beware, today’s Hot Pot of Lax is Paining!

This week’s Hot Pot victim: Concussions In Lacrosse

We’ve heard a LOT about headshots, improper hitting technique, and an increased worry about concussions, as well as head and neck injuries.  412 has been posting Daily Head Shot Video posts to illustrate that the problem exists in a lot of places, and they’re not all D1 lacrosse either.  HS games, MCLA games and all levels of NCAA games have seen headshots this season, and I really appreciate that 412 is talking about it.

This is one of those issues that can make or break the game of lacrosse, and in this instance, I’ve actually been impressed with how the lacrosse community has reacted.  There are still a lot of missed calls.  Some refs still don’t seem to understand the difference between a clean hit in lacrosse and a clean hit in football.  A lot of coaches are clearly not teaching to hit correctly, and a lot of players seem resistant to the change as well.  But it’s happening, and big change can be slow.  The key is to keep the issue at the forefront.

The fact that the NCAA instituted new, longer penalties for headshots, especially those that are viewed to be reckless or intentional, was a great first sign.  This has quickly trickled down in theory to lower level lacrosse leagues like High School, youth and other college ball.  And this is a good thing.  Many times, a rule change will be enacted for the safety of players, and some leagues are slow to adapt.  The fact that so many have followed the NCAA’s lead is encouraging.

ACC head shot lacrosse

We call that chin music.

Photo courtesy

When you add in the fact that the MLL is now instituting baseline testing for their athletes’ brains this season, and it’s pretty clear that headshots are an issue there as well.  And the MLL knows that the level of tough play is even higher in the pro ranks, so I’m glad to see them take this step.  I can only hope that the NLL, whose players suffer from a decent number of concussions every year, will institute a similar policy.  There is simply NO reason to have athletes, who are being paid under $40,000 a year, go out and risk injury like that.  The MLL has this one right… player safety is priority number 1.  This is true in a moral sense of the idea, and it also true in a liability sense.  The MLL could not afford to have a player die on the field because they suffered a massive concussion and then were allowed to play again.  Not financially, and not in terms of popularity.

Headshots can be a death knell for lacrosse.  The NFL is currently trying to backtrack on the issue of concussions, and if they are unsuccessful in doing so, they will suffer from it.  Less kids will play football, less people will care about football and the sport will become impossibly expensive to insure.  The focus won’t be on the sport anymore, as much as it will be on the spectre of death that surrounds any event, much like NASCAR.  Are there people out there that “appreciate” that kind of spectacle?  Certainly.  I just don’t think that’s the direction lacrosse wants to go.



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Well, other than the 27 minute long Tufts Lacrosse Documentary, of course!

This week it’s just your basic 8 minute video on some lacrosse being played in Argentina.  Yup, Argentina.  And it’s not even their national team, or a bunch of visiting foreigners… it’s two clubs of Argentine laxers, playing a game of lax.  To me, this is just awesome. I hope you speak some Spanish!

About the author

Connor Wilson

Connor is the Publisher of He lives in Brooklyn with his better half, continues to play and coach both box and field lacrosse in NYC as much as possible, and covers the great game that is lacrosse full-time. He spends his spare time stringing sticks and watching Futurama.

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