Monday, August 6, 2012

Do girls need lacrosse helmets?

Joseph Crisco, professor of orthopaedics, wanted to measure the impact of hits to the head in girls’ lacrosse. He invited some players into his lab to take some shots at a test dummy. The data could inform an eventual standard for girls’ and women’s lacrosse.

A little more to the left
To analyze what happens in a girls' lacrosse game when
stick meets head, Joseph Crisco equipped a test dummy
with accelerometers and invited players to take some shots.
Credit: Mike Cohea/Brown University
PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — Dr. Joseph "Trey" Crisco, the Henry F. Lippitt Professor of Orthopaedics and Director of the Bioengineering Lab, recently invited female lacrosse players ranging in age from 12 to 28 into his Rhode Island Hospital lab to swing their sticks for a project titled “Head Accelerations from Various Stick Checks in Girls’ Lacrosse.”

The research, funded by US Lacrosse, the national governing body of men’s, women’s and youth lacrosse, and by the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment, will provide data on how the head is accelerated after being hit by a stick. Video analysis of players taking whacks at a helmeted dummy, taken at 1,000 frames per second, could inform an eventual standard for girls’ and women’s lacrosse headgear.

For years, Crisco has studied head impacts in sports such as football, hockey, and lacrosse by embedding accelerometers in the helmets of collegiate teams and gathering data from actual practices and competition.

by David Orenstein