I recently was asked to speak on Doctor Radio on Sirius XM regarding lacrosse injuries and my role with United States Lacrosse. What a great show as the hosts were well informed on lacrosse injuries! This is one of the easiest topics for me to discuss as it lives up to “Doing something you love to do.”
Background on Lacrosse
Lacrosse was one of the earliest sports of the modern Olympics and was a medal sport at the 1904 and 1908 Olympics. It has recently been accepted to the International World Games to be held in Poland in 2017, which serves as a platform for a potential return to the Olympics.
I have been the lucky recipient of being involved in the game of lacrosse with its high intensity, quick skills and fast-paced games. I am now thrilled to give back to the sport that made me the confident, skilled and driven person and surgeon that I am today.
My Role with US Lacrosse
My role with US Lacrosse is to lead the team in overall wellness. Myself and our medical staff evaluate the current health concerns of the athletes, their past surgeries and illnesses and collaborate on getting them to their peak performance in national and international competitions.
Specifically, we evaluate their medications, recent surgeries, fitness levels and coordinate with strength and conditioning coaches to optimize their contribution to TEAM USA.
My Own Experience in Lacrosse
My teammates would describe me as intense and I was known to give some aggressive half time speeches. I was given a great opportunity by Coach Kerstin Kimel—to be a 3-year captain at Duke for Women’s Lacrosse.
I would reflect on a quote by Arthur Ashe “You are never really playing an opponent. You are playing yourself, your own highest standards, and when you reach your limits, that is real joy.” I left everything on the field, everyday and I was proud of that. I was given the Work Horse Award, which has now been named after me at Duke.
Helping Players Avoid Injuries
I have been honored with being on the USA Lacrosse Sports Science and Safety Commission where we work with exceptional research and the latest data on injuries in the sport of lacrosse.
It is a stellar, professional organization unique in quality that grows the body of lacrosse safety knowledge in order to advise US lacrosse and the lacrosse community on factors that enhance the safety and quality of experience in the sports of lacrosse at all levels.
Current research is in understanding the causes of ACL injuries, concussion management and research evaluation of protective equipment: helmet/goggles.
Common Lacrosse Injuries
My colleagues at Yale and I published a paper in the American Journal of Sports Medicine on Shoulder Injuries in Men’s Lacrosse.
Shoulder injuries: acromioclavicular (AC) joint injuries were the most common and instability a second more prominent injury
Overall, knee and ankle ligament sprains represent 16-21% of all reported injuries. Knee injuries like ACL tears are the leading cause of lost games and practice time for both girls and boys. Head and face injuries are less frequent/we do monitor for concussions.
Popularity of Lacrosse
Lacrosse is considered to be North America’s First Sports as Native Americans invented it. It is now the fastest growing team sport in America. It has outpaced all other sports from 2000-2016. Three quarters of a million people played lacrosse last year.
It’s extremely fast paced, full of contact, high scoring, and encourages a fun yet intense culture and following.
US Women’s National Team will compete in England in 2017 for the World Cup and in Poland in 2017 for the World Games, a precursor to the quest for Olympic sport status
United Women’s Lacrosse League was just founded this year and had its first draft—Baltimore Ride, Boston Storm, Long Island Sound and Philadelphia Force.
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