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Epidemiology of Youth Boys’ and Girls’ Lacrosse Injuries in the 2015-2016 Seasons

Kerr, Zachary Y.; Lincoln, Andrew E.; Dodge, Thomas; Yeargin, Susan W.; Covassin, Tracey M.; Nittoli, Vincent C.; Mensch, James; Roos, Karen G.; Dompier, Thomas P.; Caswell, Shane V.
Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: Post Acceptance: September 07, 2017
doi: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000001422
Original Investigation: PDF Only



Examinations of injury among younger populations of lacrosse players that are beginning their development is limited. This study describes the epidemiology of youth boys’ and girls’ lacrosse injuries during the 2015-2016 seasons.


Surveillance data originated from a convenience sample of 10 leagues in five states with 1090 boys’ and 480 girls’ lacrosse players from the U9-U15 divisions. Athletic trainers reported injury and exposure data at games and practices. Time-loss (TL) injuries were defined as resulting in ≥24 hours of participation restriction time. Injury counts and rates per 1000 athlete-games/practices were calculated. Injury rate ratios (IRR) with 95% confidence intervals (CI) compared rates by sex and age division.


Overall, 241 and 59 injuries were reported in boys’ and girls’ youth lacrosse, respectively, of which 17.0% and 18.6% were TL. Compared to girls, boys had a higher overall injury rate (12.7 vs. 8.7/1000 athlete-games/practices; IRR=1.5; 95%CI: 1.1-1.9). U13/U15 boys had a higher TL injury rate than U9/U11 boys (2.6 vs. 1.0/1000 athlete-game/practices; IRR=2.6; 95%CI: 1.1-6.1). Most injuries were diagnosed as contusions (boys: 53.7%; girls: 47.2%) and resulted from stick contact (boys: 34.1%; girls: 30.6%) and ball contact (boys: 17.1%; girls: 25.0%). Among girls, ball contact contributed to 75.0% (n=9) of all head/face injuries. Among the 14 concussions reported in boys, player contact was the most common injury mechanism (50.0%, n=7), followed by stick contact (35.7%, n=5).


Boys’ lacrosse has a higher injury incidence than girls’ lacrosse, reflecting the contact nature of the boys’ game. The high incidence of stick- and ball-related injuries suggests the need for youth specific rules to better protect youth players.

Corresponding Author: Zachary Y. Kerr, PhD, MPH; Department of Exercise and Sport Science; University of North Carolina; 313 Woollen Gym, CB#8700; Chapel Hill, NC 27599-8700;; PHONE: (919) 962-2986; FAX: (919) 962-0489

This project was funded by National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE). The content of this report is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily reflect the views of NOCSAE. The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose. The results of the present study do not constitute endorsement by ACSM. The results of the study are presented clearly, honestly, and without fabrication, falsification, or inappropriate data manipulation.

Accepted for Publication: 1 September 2017

© 2017 American College of Sports Medicine