Archives for March 2012

Gear Safety: SG 360 soft headgear helmet for women integrates with protective eyewear

LaxGearZone.com, Posted 3/23/12

The SG360 is the first soft headgear designed to integrate perfectly with the Mandatory protective eye wear/goggles in women’s lacrosse and field hockey.

SG 360 soft headgear

The SG360, which is deemed as acceptable gear by US Lacrosse, provides 360 degrees of padded protection to buffer player’s heads from incidental contact from sticks and collisions that might otherwise cause injury. The SG360 will give your players the protection and confidence they need to have fun and excel at the game they love.

Features:
1. 360 degrees of nytrolyte protection from sticks and collisions
2. First head gear designed to work perfectly with women’s lacrosse/field hockey eye protection goggles
3. Light weight
4. Fits snug and super adjustable
5. Easy to take on and off like a baseball cap
6. Moisture wicking and anti-microbial treated interior
7. Available in two sizes:
Youth 13 and under 19”-22” head circumference
Adult over 13 21”-25” head circumference
8. Works with most women’s lacrosse/ field hockey protective goggles
9. MSRP $69.99 ea
10. Available in 5 colors: Black, red, silver, navy, and royal blue.

Contact: HRP Sports, PO Box 190, Somersworth, NH 03878. Visit: www.hrpsports.com 800-352-5525

Warning:
The SG360 is not a helmet and will not protect players from catastrophic skull, brain, MBTI Injuries or concussions. No product can prevent all head, face or neck injuries a player might receive while participating in Lacrosse or field hockey. Do not use this product to butt, ram or spear an opposing player. These are all violations of women’s lacrosse and field hockey rules and such use can result in severe head or neck injuries, paralysis or death to you and possibly injury to your opponent.

There is a risk that injury may also occur as a result of an accidental contact without intent to butt, ram or spear. This protective equipment is designed to reduce the risk of injury only to the specific body part which it covers. No equipment can prevent all injuries. Use of this equipment does not guarantee protection from serious, disabling, or permanent injury. Any modifications or alteration could reduce protection. If damaged the product should be replaced.

National gear safety: Bullis School (MD) earns victory in first game wearing rugby helmets

By Stephen London
LaxGearZone.com, Posted 3/6/12

The Bullis School (MD) became one of the first girls’ lacrosse team to wear self-mandated rugby-style helmets today when it hosted Paul VI (Va.) to open the season.

Considering that nine Bulldogs suffered concussions last year, players and coaches cannot deny the safety aspect of the game.

Bullis School captains Molly Morris (second from right) and Isabelle King don their helmets during the pre-game toss

Senior co-captain Molly Morris pumped in eight goals, including the game-winner with just over three minutes to play to lift Bullis School to an exciting victory.

Of course the topic of the game was the Navy blue helmets being worn by the Bulldog players. However, coaches and players said the helmets became less of a factor as the game progressed.

“I don’t think that there is any lack of mobility because of the helmets,” Bullis coach Kathleen Lloyd said. “When they introduced the goggles I think that effected their vision.”

It is obvious when watching these two teams to see that each team has their superstar. Senior Morris was a force all night and for Paul VI, junior Gabrielle Nieves poured in seven goals.

Bullis School's gear now includes a Navy blue rugby helmet

“It (the helmet) didn’t affect us,” said Morris.

Whether or not the helmets affect the way teams or officials treat the Bulldogs is still to be determined. However, the topic of using helmets in girls’ lacrosse continues to be a huge issue with the added emphasis on prevention of concussions.

Last year two Bullis players, wearing helmets after suffering concussions. One of those players, senior Carley Sturges, intends to continue wearing her helmet for as long as she plays the game. She has committed to Roanoke.

Due to injuries to Sturges and many others, Bullis officials decided all varsity and JV players would wear the helmets this season.

“There has been a lot of curiosity about them,” said Lloyd. “[Everyone] has been asking us about them… but it is up to them to choose.”

Paul VI head coach Carrie Conques may consider having her girls wear helmets, considering she had two players out with concussions.
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“It couldn’t hurt, anything to make our kids safer.” Conques said.

Bullis School 14, Paul VI 13

Paul VI 8-5-13
Bullis 7-7-14
Bullis: Molly Morris 9G, 1A;Chelsea Widerlite 2g; Isabel King 1G, 1A; Morgan Cafritz 1G; Caitlin McMahon 1G; Collette Roa 1A; Dazia Hall 1A; Carley Struges 1A.
Paul VI: Gabrielle Nieves 7G; Sydney Kristek 4G; Mary Krolicki 1G; Alyssa Tutone 1G

National gear safety: Bullis School (MD) senior Sturges happy that entire team is wearing helmets in 2012

By Chris Goldberg
LaxGearZone.com, Posted 3/5/12

Carley Sturges said she understands why some believe that girls should not wear helmets because it could change the way the game is played.

Carley Sturges

But the Bullis School senior says she would never play the game of lacrosse again without wearing a helmet and supports the decision made by school officials that is requiring Bullis School players to wear rugby helmets this season.

The decision to have all Bullis school players wear rugby helmets was made in the off-season by school officials and Bulldogs coach Kathleen Lloyd after nine of the players sustained concussions in lacrosse or sports-related incidents.

Sturges, an attack player who recently committed to Division III Roanoke College, missed two months of the 2011 season after being whacked in the temple by a stick during a winter tournament. After that she decided to wear a rugby helmet.

“I got hit going for a groundball,” Sturges said. “The girl knocked my goggles off and I completely wiped out. I kept on playing, but I was dazed and I knew something was wrong.”

Since Bullis School does baseline testing, it was easy to determine that Sturges had sustained a concussion. She returned to the field in late march during the spring season but only felt comfortable while wearing a rugby helmet recommended by school trainers.

“I knew that wearing a helmet cannot completely protect me,” she said. “I stopped wearing it after a few weeks back from my concussion and I found that I wasn’t playing the same way I was with the helmet on because I was very hesitant and scared of getting checked in the head again.

“The helmet doesn’t hinder my play at all,” she said. “If anything it helped me build my confidence back up because it protected my head.

“I don’t really think about playing lacrosse without my helmet any more. It’s a part of me now.

Sturges admits that not all the girls on her team wanted to wear helmets. After wearing the helmets for preseason practice and several scrimmages, though, coach Katherine Lloyd reported that the girls have adjusted fine to the new equipment.

“I know it won’t prevent anything from happening, but it can help,” Sturges said. “A lot of people (like the girls on my lacrosse team at school) hated the idea of having to wear a rugby helmet.

“They don’t want to look stupid, but I would rather look stupid than get another concussion and never be able to play the sport I love again.”

The Navy blue helmets were distributed when practice began a week ago and Bullis opens its season Tuesday when it hosts Paul VI (Va.) at 5:30 p.m.

“When I found out (we would all be wearing them) I was really surprised,” Sturges said. “I thought I would be the only one wearing a helmet. At the same time, I felt kind of relieved because it’s annoying walking on the field having people stare at you.

“Now everyone will be staring at all of us.”

Last year two girls from Long Island’s Shoreham-Wading River, Alex Fehmel and Clare Blomberg, began using helmets because they suffered concussions.

As a result of the increased number of concussions and the increased media attention concussions have received at the high school, college and pro levels, New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo signed a new law that will increase protections for student-athletes who suffer concussions, a decision supported by Long Island legislators.

The new law requires any student who is believed to have suffered a concussion to be immediately removed from athletic activities and banned from returning until he or she is symptom-free for at least 24 hours and cleared by a physician.

Also, the law mandated that\s coaches, teachers and other school personnel are to receive training about concussion symptoms. The measure became effective July 1.
Sturges said that girls should have the right to wear more protection.

“I think that helmets are a good idea because of the amount of girls that are getting concussions from being checked in the head these days due to how competitive and aggressive the sport has become,” she said. “We need to realize that we need to protect our heads, and if refs aren’t going to be consistent with how they call the games, then you need take the matters into your own hands.

“We need to be more aware of what can happen when you swing at someone’s head trying to check their stick or if someone swings at your head as well.

“But at the same time I feel like if everyone has to begin wearing helmets than the aggressiveness of the game will be taken to a whole new level because some might feel as though they can’t get hurt because they are wearing a helmet, and that you can’t hurt anyone else because they are wearing a helmet as well.

“I know this topic is really controversial right now with girls’ lacrosse, and I would rather protect myself because you never know what can happen.”

National gear safety: Bullis School (MD) to wear rugby helmets this year after rash of concussions in 2011 season

By Chris Goldberg
LaxGearZone.com, Posted 3/5/12

The Bullis School girls’ lacrosse team has voluntarily decided to wear rugby helmets for the 2012 season in an effort to provide added protection against concussions.

The Bulldogs, who open their season Tuesday at home vs. Paul VI (Va.) at 5:30 p.m., had nine players suffer concussions last year while playing lacrosse or another sport.

Bullis players (from left) Carley Sturges, Rachel Stouck, Molly Morris, Isabelle King, Katie Calder and Katie Silverstein don the new rugby helmets being worn this year by all team members.

One of the players, senior attack Carley Sturges, began wearing the helmet last season after being out for several months due to a concussion sustained in a winter tournament and continued to wear the helmet in the summer and fall tournament season. One other Bullis player, Lauren Raffensperger, also wore the helmet last year after sustaining a concussion.

The custom-made, Navy blue helmets being used at Bullis are manufactured by Love Rugby Company of Centrevilla, Va. They meet current US Lacrosse guidelines as an accepted headgear because they are not a hard-surfaced helmet.

Officials from US Lacrosse and Bullis School wished to clarify that the helmets – nor any protective headgear – cannot prevent concussions. Bullis coach Kathleen Lloyd said the decision made by the school was simply made to help lessen the possibility of more head injuries.

Lloyd admitted that some girls were originally apprehensive about wearing the helmets. But school officials felt safety was the No. 1 priority and that the helmets would not impede vision or control.

Bullis players (from left) Molly Morris, Kaite Silverstein, Katie Calder and Isabelle King

“I told the girls you gain respect by how you play on the field, not what you look like,” said Lloyd. “We buy the kids the best equipment, why can’t we have the right to buy the best stuff to protect their head and teeth?

“When parents heard what we were doing, they said, ‘It’s a great idea to protect the kids I want my daughter to enjoy herself without having too much risk.’
“The helmets are going great. No problems. People are curious. The girls are definitely getting used to them and don’t even think about them anymore. We had our last indoor game (Sunday) and they put them on without even a reminder.

“They don’t mind being the only ones wearing them either. They said it kept their ears warm yesterday at the playday. I had several parents from other teams comment and say that they would like their daughters’ team to wear them. Some girls even feel more confident with them and not scared as much of getting hit.”

Ann Carpenetti, US Lacrosse Managing Director for Game Administration, said US Lacrosse has been working hard in recent years to create a standard for women’s headgear. When that occurs, it would then be determined if US Lacrosse would consider requiring women to wear protective headgear or recommending it on a voluntary basis.

The girls at Bullis are not the only ones wearing helmets. Around the nation, girls have voluntarily began to wear them as the issue of concussions continues to be a major topic in sports. Last year two players on Shoreham-Wading River on Long Island made the national headlines because they wore soft-padded headgear. One of the players, junior Alex Fehmel, has been wearing helmet since she began playing varsity in 9th grade on a team that won a state championship.

“For officials and consumers, there is no standard for women’s head gear at this time, but some are OK to wear,” Carpenetti said. ‘What we don’t want is folks taking football helmets and putting in bubble wrap and thinking that is OK.

Carpenetti again warned that soft headgear can only provide some protection, but not prevention for concussions. The best way to cut down on concussions is for officials to closely call fouls when stick to head and stick body contact occurs and for coaches to teach proper checking skills.

This year high school rules are stressing that no checks can be made toward the body. In the past few years, checks toward the body had been legal if they were deemed “under control.” Also, no checking can be made in the 7-inch sphere; before it was legal to check through and away from the sphere.

“We know sticks hitting heads are not the only way concussions occur,” said Carpenetti. “Though research shows that stick to head impact is the primary reason for concussions.”
Recently the results of a study published in “The American Journal of Sports Medicine” focused on over 500 games played in the Fairfax County Public School system in Falls Church, Va., during the 2008 and 2009 seasons.
The study looked at 14 of the 25 head injuries that occurred in those games and determined that fouls were called only twice.

Carpenetti said there is a need for more women’s umpires and more training as well as more emphasis on coaching proper techniques in checking. She noted that the game continues to grow at a swift pace and that more new players, coaches and umpires are getting involved in more and more regions that are just beginning to grow.

“There should not be a card only when you see blood,” Carpenetti said.

Carpenetti also said US Lacrosse would be looking closely at how the helmets impact play for Bullis School games since umpires will have the rare occasion of referring with one team that is wearing the helmets and another team that is not.

“Do I think the officials will call it differently because of the presence of rugby helmets?” Carpenetti said in response to the same question. “Certainly there is a difference when an unhelmeted team sees a helmeted team.

“How that team behaves will be of interest. More important is that the officials have the same rules and they need to enforce the rules consistently.”

Lloyd said she is unsure of whether the helmets will help cut down on injuries, but believes her players will be safer.

“We don’t know how it’s going to,” Lloyd said of the presence of the helmet. “One of my players (last year) got a concussion when she got tangled up and fell and hit her heard on the ground. It wasn’t a stick (that caused it), but it was due to rough play.

“Would a rugby helmet deter that? I don’t know. Maybe it would not be as severe. Maybe, but we don’t know.”

Lloyd, who has coached in high school and for top club teams for 16 years, said she has changed her stance on the issue of safety.

“I used to come from the stance of, if we had helmets, it would make the game rougher,” she said. “But as I looked into this and I’ve watched the girls play with new rules, it shouldn’t change the game.”

Looking at Safety: Pro standout Mundorf to endorse TapouT Mouthguard

By Charles Kruzits
LaxGearZone.com, Posted 3/4/12

Former UMBC standout and All-World lacrosse player Brendan Mundorf has made one thing clear: he wants to play the sport at a high level for a long time.

While knowing the risks that come with playing the game, he is aiming to lessen the possibility of concussions.

TapouT Mouthguard

Mundorf, a key member of the NLL Philadelphia Wings and the MLL Denver Outlaws, recently made a huge commitment to safety landing a deal to sponsor the TapouT mouthguard, by Battle Sports Science.

“I’m just very thankful,” Mundorf said of his newest endorsement. “From the people I talked to within the organization, it was obvious that they are leading the way in safety in sports and in prevention of concussions.”

The TapouT mouthguard (http://tapoutmouthguard.com/) is designed to be re-boiled and re-molded multiple times without losing protective integrity. It is used by many pro athletes, including mixed martial arts fighters and NHL stud Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks.

Brendan Mundorf

According to Battle Sports, the mouthguard allows athletes to boil and mold, then re-boil and re-mold until they achieve the perfect fit, multiple times. The correct fit allows the jaw to lock into a relaxed position, enabling the Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) to fill with natural fluids to compound the shock absorption qualities of the mouthguard. Athletes with braces can re-mold the guard after orthodontic adjustments.

“Growing up, mouthpieces were so uncomfortable,” said 27-year old Mundorf, a two-time All-American at UMBC while leading the Retrievers to the 2006 NCAA tournament. “It’s nice to have one that’s comfortable but also effective because it’s really important to take that precautionary step. A lot of times you can see someone chewing on the outside of the mouthpiece or just not even wearing one.”

The issue of safety and head injuries was heightened when Merrick Thomson’s career was cut short at the young age of 25 because of post-concussion symptoms.

“It’s really unfortunate for Merrick,” said Mundorf. “He was at the top of his game and getting better significantly every year. Situations like that make you take a step back and think.”

Thomson’s story is not the first nor will be the last as day-after-day a current or former athlete speaks out about injuries sustained on the playing surface. Jim McMahon, former Super Bowl winning quarterback for the Chicago Bears, suffers from memory loss that he attributes from the bumps and bruises that came with playing football. On the ice, NHL fans are wondering when and if Sidney Crosby will ever return to the NHL after receiving multiple concussions early last season.

Here is where star power comes in. Mundorf is hoping that younger players see the importance of safety.

“The reality is when you’re younger, taking that precautionary step isn’t cool,” Circo said. “It is (cool) when kids see a professional doing it. They’ll think, ‘it’s ok for me to do it too.’ The reason is because they want to copy their favorite athlete.”

Chris Circo, the C.E.O. of Battle Sports Science, has set out to inform the public on the importance of safety on the playing field. Battle Sports puts out many pieces of gear that focus on safety.

With the speed of the game increasing, and the players getting stronger, taking that “extra step” could be career- or even life-saving. Though Mundorf tries not to worry about his safety while playing the game, he didn’t hesitate when the opportunity arose to be endorsed by Battle Sports Science.

“I knew this was a good opportunity because you should never take your health lightly,” Mundorf said. “(Battle Sports Science) gets how important it is to provide the safest products to all athletes.”

Circo said parents often are not educated enough on the issues of safety for their children playing sports.

“If you lose a tooth, it can be replaced,” he said. “But, if you lose functionality in your brain, it can affect a lot of people, including your family and friends.”