The epidemiology of NCAA men's lacrosse injuries, 2009/10-2014/15 academic years

Inj Epidemiol. 2017 Dec;4(1):6. doi: 10.1186/s40621-017-0104-0. Epub 2017 Mar 6.


Background: Participation in lacrosse has grown at the collegiate levels. However, little research has examined the epidemiology of collegiate men's lacrosse injuries. This study describes the epidemiology of injuries in National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) men's lacrosse during the 2009/10-2014/15 academic years.

Methods: Twenty-five men's lacrosse programs provided 63 team-seasons of data for the NCAA Injury Surveillance Program (NCAA-ISP) during the 2009/10-2014/15 academic years. Injuries occurred from participation in an NCAA-sanctioned practice or competition, and required attention from an AT or physician. Injuries were further classified as time loss (TL) injuries if the injury restricted participation for at least 24 h. Injuries were reported through electronic medical record application used by the team medical staff throughout the academic year. Injury rates per 1000 athlete-exposures (AE), injury rate ratios (RR), 95% confidence intervals (CI), and injury proportions were reported.

Results: Overall, 1055 men's lacrosse injuries were reported, leading to an injury rate of 5.29/1000AE; 95%CI: 4.98-5.61. The TL injury rate was 2.74/1000AE (95%CI: 2.51-2.96). The overall injury rate was higher in competition than practice (12.35 vs. 3.90/1000AE; RR = 3.16; 95%CI: 2.79-3.58). Most injuries were to the lower extremity (58.3%), particularly the ankle (14.1%) in competition and the upper leg (14.3%) in practice. Sprains and strains were the most common diagnoses in both competition (26.9 and 23.7%, respectively) and practice (20.2% and 27.4%, respectively). Most injuries in competitions and practices were due to player contact (32.8 and 17.5%, respectively) and non-contact (29.6 and 40.0%, respectively).

Conclusions: Our estimated injury rates are lower than those from previous college men's lacrosse research. This may be due to increased injury awareness, advances in injury prevention exercise programs, or rule changes. Still, injury prevention can aim to continue reducing the incidence and severity of injury, particularly those sustained in competitions and to the lower extremity.

Keywords: Checking; College sports; Injury rates; Lacrosse; Prevention.