Common Lacrosse Injuries and Prevention

If you play lacrosse, it is a good bet you will at some point in time sustain some sort of injury, either on the field during a game or practice, yet, you shouldn’t let that deter you from getting out there and enjoying the sport.

Lacrosse is a full contact sport with lots of running, quick movements, turns and, of course, body contact. Like any other sport, there is a risk of injury that goes with playing.

Protective gear offers players a measure of control over any injuries they may sustain, however, for a full contact sport, unlike American football, for example, there is a surprisingly little amount of padding and equipment that protects against injury.

Most of the injuries associated with lacrosse are caused by quick movements and turns required in the field during game play. Sudden movements without the right amount of preparation and stability are responsible for a myriad of knee, ankle and leg injuries, but generally they are minor sprains and strains that can be easily treated at home.

More serious injuries, such as concussion are not as common as in other contact sports, but the fact it is full contact can result in bumps and bruises, which can leave a player sore for awhile.

Some of the most common, and not so common but serious, injuries include:

Ankle and knee sprains – commonly occur with quick movements such as dodging and turns.

Hamstring strains – occur when a muscle is moved too forcefully or quickly and although lacrosse involves movement from almost all the major muscle groups, hamstrings are the most common form of strain.

Bruises or contusions – Full contact means you are going to get hit, checked or otherwise run into while playing. Coming in contact with the metal stick used in lacrosse is also a common cause of bruises.

Rib Fractures – A lacrosse stick across the chest is guaranteed to leave a bruise and sometimes can fracture a rib.

Concussion – Not too common in lacrosse, but because the helmets worn are not nearly as protective as say, football helmets, where the risk of concussion is very high, there is always a chance of a head injury.

Low back pain – Associated with running and twisting.

Wrist fracture – Getting whacked with a lacrosse stick can hurt. Most body areas offer padding with muscle and fat, however, the wrist is not so well protected and is prone to fracture.

Injuries such as these are common in both boys and girls lacrosse with the girls being at lower risk for the contusions of body contact since for them it is not considered a full-contact sport.

Yea, you may be thinking, why do I want to be all sore and bruised or possibly mess up my knees or legs playing lacrosse? Remember though, you can really sustain many of these injuries, and more serious ones from other sports as well. Luckily there are preventative measures you can take to avoid as many of these injuries as possible, and treatment of most of them requires just a little home care.

Make sure you are warmed up and ready to play – Stretching and getting your muscles and joints warmed up can help prevent strains and sprains in the legs and lower back.

Practice the quick movements and turns – Increases your ability to control your movements and strengthens the muscles and tendons to support the joints involved.

Protective gear – Wear your protective gear. Rib pads are not required in lacrosse but should be worn to avoid fractures. Helmets are required, as are mouth guards to prevent mouth injuries.

Men should always wear a cup to protect the groin area.

Ice and anti-inflammatory medicine – Reduces swelling and pain associated with bruises and mild strains.

If lacrosse is what you are interested in, you should play because it’s fun, not avoid it because of the possibility of injury. Injuries sometimes happen. Just like in every other part of life.