I think it would be fairly accurate to assume that most of us over the age of 40 did not wear cycling helmets as kids. And for that matter, how many of you remember riding in the back of a station wagon or even the backseat of a car without a seatbelt?
Today most of us are fanatical in making both issues as natural an act for our children (and hopefully ourselves) as tying their $100 sneakers.
We evolve. Research leads to new technology. Someone figures out that a fiberglass mask will stop a hockey puck from smashing facial bones. Or that a seatbelt will stop us from being launched through the windshield of a car.
When Jacque Plante introduced the goalie mask into an NHL game for the first time more than 50 years ago, many questioned his dedication and bravery. Helmets were actually the last of the football pads to be accepted in 1888 and weren’t made mandatory in college until 1939 and then pro football in 1943.
Another example of this type of stubborn anti-protection behavior has occurred during the Tour de France and other professional cycling races over the years. I’m always baffled by the old school mentality of the younger riders who’ve protested such a commonsense rule as wearing a helmet while descending the French Alps at 50-plus mph.
So I guess the evolution of common sense can sometimes be rather slow when it comes to protecting athletes or athletes wanting to be protected. It’s akin to young adults not wearing seatbelts — heck, any adult for that matter.
I don’t understand any of it. Call me weak. Call me over-cautious. Call me whatever you want. If it reduces the odds of making an ambulance call on my behalf, I’ll take the protection.
This leads me to my research regarding girls' lacrosse injuries. I’ve been watching games over the past couple of weeks and talking to players (two of whom broke noses after being hit with the ball) as well as parents. And while I’ll admit that my exposure to the game is limited, it looked pretty obvious to me that there is a lot of incidental contact going on out there.
I understand that it’s a non-contact sport (whatever that means) but these aren’t the same girls as 20 or 30 years ago. Have you seen them lately? They are bigger, faster, and stronger. Many of them wouldn’t think twice if you asked them to take a shift on the field among the boys regardless of the major differences in the game itself. They are that driven. They are that competitive and fearless.
Girls' lacrosse is no joke!
Okay, so even if U.S. Lacrosse doesn’t have enough proof that helmets would lessen the occurrences of concussions, do they think they would protect the wearers from broken noses, gashes to the forehead, or split lips? How about using gloves to protect hands and fingers? Some of those body parts come in handy during school.
I don’t have the space here to comment on their reasoning for not insisting on more protection. But I do question much of the logic they present. And we can certainly discuss this further in the comments section below.
A recent study performed by George Mason University indicates that more research needs to be done before coming to any real conclusions. Conclusions before concussions, I guess.
And finally, an article from the Huffington Post where some girls are angered at the thought of being forced to wear helmets.
Quite frankly I don’t care what the kids (or young adults) want or don’t want to do when it comes to the issue of protecting themselves. Leave that to the adults who don’t want to see them seriously injured.
Am I being overly protective of children that aren’t even mine? I’d love to hear from players as well as parents and coaches on this subject.
Now over to the boys' side of the field: Can we please make it mandatory that the goalies wear leg protection? I’m told by some that it’s a matter of toughness — or proving their toughness. Again, this should not be left up to a kid’s discretion. Why in the world would you want to leave their young knees exposed to a hard rubber ball being launched toward them? Make it a rule across the board.
And one last thing I noticed at a multi-use field: the lacrosse lines were painted in black — black on grass? The opposing team especially found it difficult not to focus on the white or yellow lines that were several yards outside of the black ones.
There have got to be other color choices out there (pink or red maybe?). Hey, how about more white — and before the game the players are made aware of which lines are being used. If I’m missing something here, please enlighten me.
So there you have it. Straight from my desk at an undisclosed location wearing my helmet, gloves, and leg protection just in case a girls' LAX team or originator of the black lines finds me.