posted 07.16.2012 at 3.42 p.m. by Matt DaSilva

Ivy League Issues Concussion Recommendations

With growing concerns about concussions in lacrosse and the potentially harmful short- and long-term effects they can have on college players, the Ivy League positioned itself as a leader on the issue Monday by approving a series of recommendations for lacrosse and soccer.

For men's lacrosse:

• Coaches will designate 11 combined days in the fall and spring seasons in which body checking will not be permitted in practices.

• Only one full-contact practice per day will be permitted.

• Coaches will place a greater emphasis on teaching proper hitting techniques in practice.

• The Ivy League office will work with the NCAA on specific issues that could potentially lower the incidence of concussion, including examining the possibility of more stringent consequences for penalties involving targeting the head as well as considering possible rules changes surrounding faceoffs.

For women's lacrosse:

• Coaches will modify 10 spring practices to exclude stick-checking.

• Coaches will dedicate time during the beginning of fall practice and skill instruction season on teaching proper stick-checking technique.

• Each student-athlete will be required to attend at least one skill instruction session that focuses on proper stick-checking technique prior to the first fall practice.

• Other adopted recommendations centered on suggestions for minimizing accidental hits to the head during practices and continued assessment of officiating to address fouls involving hits (i.e., stick-checking) to the head and other dangerous play.

• Certified officials will attend one fall practice to emphasize adherence to safety rules and cardable fouls.

These recommendations stem from the work of sport-specific committees that reviewed national data and research, as well as three years of Ivy League concussion data. They will go into effect for the 2012-13 academic year. Among consultants was US Lacrosse CEO Steve Stenersen, who traveled to Yale in late January to provide the national governing body's perspective and research.

The Ivy League will continue to collect pertinent data and video for future research and recommendations and will explore the viability of video as a tool for post-game review and suspension policies, similar to football.

"These concussion reviews, particularly as they relate to the safety of our student-athletes, reflect the Ivy League’s interest in taking a leadership role in appropriate aspects of athletics generally and regarding concussions specifically. Expanding our review to include more sports is another way to drive the discussion and help student-athletes across our broad-based athletics programs," Ivy League Executive Director Robin Harris said in a statement.

"When looking at sports such as lacrosse and soccer it became obvious that the need for quality data had to be our focus for the future,” said Cornell President David J. Skorton, who co-chaired the Multi-Sport Concussion Review Committee with former Dartmouth President Jim Yong Kim. “We need to determine under exactly what circumstances these concussions are occurring on the field. In the interim, taking steps to minimize exposures while also increasing education became paramount."