Jun 17, 2015
AMA: Time For Female Lax Helmets

During its 2015 Annual Meeting last week, delegates of the American Medical Association voted for a resolution calling for female lacrosse players to wear the same protective equipment as male players. This would include hard shell helmets, which are used only by goalkeepers in the women’s game.

Although men’s lacrosse features heavy body contact between players, it is not permitted in the women’s game. Currently, female players are required to wear eye and mouth guards and they may don soft head guards if they choose in all states but Florida, where they are mandatory.

In an interview with Medical News Today, Melissa Garretson, MD, of the American Association of Pediatrics, said the AMA’s resolution is based on the danger presented by the ball, which is the same for both sports.

“I just don’t think that middle school or high school or even some college kids are that accurate that they’re never going to misthrow the ball,” Garretson said. “The reason goalies have to wear helmets is that the ball is hurled at them. That’s the same reason the players should have the helmets.”

Ann Kitt Carpenetti, Vice President of Operations for US Lacrosse, said the organization recently helped implement international standards for product development and encouraged to the AMA to give these standards a chance. She also said there is no evidence showing that the current equipment on the market provides any benefit and that adding gear can encourage more aggressive play, negating the safety benefit.

Speaking for himself, Louis Kraus, MD, a delegate from the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, said there was no reason to wait.

“Even though the research isn’t there, we know it’s safer to jump out of an airplane with a parachute,” he said. “We don’t need a double-blind study to show that.”


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