Epidemiology of Youth Boys’ and Girls’ Lacrosse Injuries in the 2015 to 2016 Seasons

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Abstract

Purpose

Examinations of injury among younger populations of lacrosse players that are beginning their development is limited. This study describes the epidemiology of youth boys’ and girls’ lacrosse injuries during the 2015 to 2016 seasons.

Methods

Surveillance data originated from a convenience sample of 10 leagues in five states with 1090 boy lacrosse players and 408 girl lacrosse players from the U9-U15 divisions. Athletic trainers reported injury and exposure data at games and practices. Time loss (TL) injuries were defined as resulting in ≥24 h of participation restriction time. Injury counts and rates per 1000 athlete games/practices were calculated. Injury rate ratios (IRR) with 95% confidence intervals (CI) compared rates by sex and age division.

Results

Overall, 241 and 59 injuries were reported in boys’ and girls’ youth lacrosse, respectively, of which 17.0% and 18.6% were TL. Compared with girls, boys had a higher overall injury rate (12.7 vs 8.7/1000 athlete games/practices; IRR, 1.5; 95% CI, 1.1–1.9). U13/U15 boys had a higher TL injury rate than U9/U11 boys (2.6 vs 1.0/1000 athlete game/practices; IRR, 2.6; 95% CI, 1.1–6.1). Most injuries were diagnosed as contusions (boys, 53.7%; girls, 47.2%) and resulted from stick contact (boys, 34.1%; girls, 30.6%) and ball contact (boys, 17.1%; girls, 25.0%). Among girls, ball contact contributed to 75.0% (n = 9) of all head/face injuries. Among the 14 concussions reported in boys, player contact was the most common injury mechanism (50.0%, n = 7), followed by stick contact (35.7%, n = 5).

Conclusions

Boys’ lacrosse has a higher injury incidence than girls’ lacrosse, reflecting the contact nature of the boys’ game. The high incidence of stick- and ball-related injuries suggests the need for youth-specific rules to better protect youth players.

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