Helmets are currently banned in women's lacrosse and many players want to keep it that way, despite calls from safety advocates for head protection, the New York Times reported.
"It's hard to absolutely prove, but what we've seen is that behavior can change when athletes feel more protected, especially when it comes to the head and helmets," said Dr. Margot Putukian, Princeton's director of athletic medicine services and chairwoman of the U.S. Lacrosse safety committee.
"They tend to put their bodies and heads in danger that they wouldn't without the protection. And they aren't as protected as they might think," she told the Times.
Women's lacrosse has many other differences in rules from men's lacrosse, so much so that they're practically different sports, said Amy Bokker, the coach of the Stanford women's lacrosse team.
Among the differences:
- No body checking, and minimal collisions.
- No head contact, or even accidental intrusion with the stick or body into an imaginary sphere around the head, called the halo.
- No shooting at the net when a defender is in line with the goal.
In December, the New York State Public High School Athletic Association voted 9-2 to keep the ban on hard helmets in the women's game. U.S. Lacrosse also supports the ban.
Safety advocates, however, call the ban outdated.
"Somebody's got to stand up and say, What are you doing? This to me is like, come on, you're not serious. This is 2011," said Dr. Jack Ryan of the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine at a recent meeting of the National Organizing Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment.
Do you think more protective equipment leads to more risky or violent behaviour in sports? Do you play a sport such as soccer, rugby or women's lacrosse that requires less protective gear? Let us know what you think.