Are Lacrosse Players at Risk for Severe Injuries? | MedStar Health

Are Lacrosse Players at Risk for Severe Injuries?

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US Lacrosse, Sports Science & Safety Committee


There is growing concern in the lacrosse community about the frequency and severity of injuries in lacrosse players. This study will be the first to use insurance claims data to characterize severe injuries among lacrosse players. Furthermore, this will be the first study to systematically assess injury risks and mechanisms in the youth and post-collegiate player populations. The detailed data available from the insurance claims will provide us with a better understanding of scenarios associated with injuries. This knowledge is necessary to apply evidence-based injury control efforts specific to different levels of play.


The objectives of the proposed research are as follows:

  1. Describe injuries resulting in insurance claims. Injury rates and patterns will be compared between practices and games, men and women, levels of play, player position, player and team activity, and contact and non-contact scenarios.
  2. Describe the trends of severe injuries in lacrosse games and practices over a six year period (2001-2006).
  3. Identify patterns associated with the most severe injuries at each level of play.
  4. Suggest interventions targeting high-risk scenarios based on study results and successful interventions in other contact sports.


Population: Male and female lacrosse players at the following levels of play: youth/recreation league, secondary school (middle and high school), college and post-collegiate.

Data Source

Data from insurance claims made to the insurance carrier for the sport governing body between 2001 and 2006 will be analyzed. The insurance claims form contains information on mechanism of impact (including legal or illegal contact), team activity, player activity, player position, location on field, game or practice session and whether a penalty was called at the time of injury.

Analytic Approach

Injuries rates will be calculated by dividing the number of injuries by number of players at risk. Incidence rate ratios and 95% confidence intervals will be used to compare injury rates by gender, session type (game or practice), level of play, player activity, anatomical site of injury and injury mechanism.

Poisson regression models will be used to assess trends in the injury rates over a five-year period. The regression models will provide estimates of the average annual percentage change in injury rates, assuming a linear trend over time.


This research will determine the injury risks in youth, secondary school, college and post-collegiate lacrosse players. Injury trends over a five-year period will also be described. The findings will be used to suggest evidence-based methods to improve player safety across all levels of play.