Head, face, and eye injuries in scholastic and collegiate lacrosse: a 4-year prospective study

Am J Sports Med. 2007 Feb;35(2):207-15. doi: 10.1177/0363546506293900. Epub 2007 Jan 4.


Background: Risks and mechanisms of head, face, and eye injuries in high school and college lacrosse are not well documented.

Purpose: To identify (1) primary mechanisms of head, face, and eye injuries in lacrosse and (2) differences in injury risk between the men's and women's game and between high school and collegiate levels.

Study design: Descriptive epidemiological study.

Methods: The authors gathered data on 507,000 girls' and boys' high school and 649,573 women's and men's college lacrosse athletic exposures using sport-specific injury surveillance systems over 4 seasons. They identified the most common scenarios for head, face, and eye injuries.

Results: The high school girls' head, face, and eye injury rate (0.54 per 1000 athletic exposures) was significantly higher (incident rate ratio, 1.42; 95% confidence interval, 1.09-1.86) than that for boys (0.38 per 1000 athletic exposures); college women (0.77 per 1000 athletic exposures) sustained a higher rate of injuries (incident rate ratio, 1.76; 95% confidence interval, 1.42-2.19) than did men (0.44 per 1000 athletic exposures). Concussions constituted a higher percentage of injuries among boys (73%) and men (85%) than among girls (40%) and women (41%). Men sustained few facial injuries, whereas a substantial proportion of women's injuries involved the face and orbital area.

Conclusion: Although permitting only incidental contact, women's lacrosse had higher rates of head, face, and eye injuries at both the high school and collegiate levels. Concussion was the most common injury. For men, the primary injury mechanism was player-to-player contact; women's injuries primarily resulted from stick or ball contact. High school injury rates were lower than were college rates, but the nature of injuries, body parts affected, and mechanisms were similar.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Craniocerebral Trauma / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Prospective Studies
  • Protective Devices
  • Racquet Sports / injuries*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Sex Factors
  • United States