Background: Knowledge of injury mechanisms and game situations associated with head injuries in girls’ high school lacrosse is necessary to target prevention efforts.
Purpose: To use video analysis and injury data to provide an objective and comprehensive visual record to identify mechanisms of injury, game characteristics, and penalties associated with head injury in girls’ high school lacrosse.
Study Design: Descriptive epidemiology study.
Methods: In the 25 public high schools of 1 school system, 529 varsity and junior varsity girls’ lacrosse games were videotaped by trained videographers during the 2008 and 2009 seasons. Video of head injury incidents was examined to identify associated mechanisms and game characteristics using a lacrosse-specific coding instrument.
Results: Of the 25 head injuries (21 concussions and 4 contusions) recorded as game-related incidents by athletic trainers during the 2 seasons, 20 head injuries were captured on video, and 14 incidents had sufficient image quality for analysis. All 14 incidents of head injury (11 concussions, 3 contusions) involved varsity-level athletes. Most head injuries resulted from stick-to-head contact (n = 8), followed by body-to-head contact (n = 4). The most frequent player activities were defending a shot (n = 4) and competing for a loose ball (n = 4). Ten of the 14 head injuries occurred inside the 12-m arc and in front of the goal, and no penalty was called in 12 injury incidents. All injuries involved 2 players, and most resulted from unintentional actions. Turf versus grass did not appear to influence number of head injuries.
Conclusion: Comprehensive video analysis suggests that play near the goal at the varsity high school level is associated with head injuries. Absence of penalty calls on most of these plays suggests an area for exploration, such as the extent to which current rules are enforced and the effectiveness of existing rules for the prevention of head injury.