Blogs and Commentary

posted 08.22.2012 at 5.36 p.m. by Corey McLaughlin

US Lacrosse Asks NCAA Men's Rules Committee to Consider Safety

In advance of the NCAA men's rules committee's plan to reconvene this week to discuss its proposed rules changes announced Aug. 3, the US Lacrosse Men's Safety Education Subcommittee has weighed in with its opinion on the potential changes, voicing safety concerns relating to three propsals.

Angelo Calvello, the chair of that subcommittee, authored a letter to the NCAA men's rules committee asking that the committee rescind two proposals (outlawing the motorcycle grip and the experimental proposal to move faceoff players 12 inches apart) and develop a formal protocol regarding another (removing the five-second grace period for goalies on restarts).

Excerpts of the letter are below. It states that although the rules changes apply to the NCAA, the decisions can "directly impact youth and high school players."

"First, the proposal to start face-off players 12 inches apart seems to increase the likelihood of injury to the player’s neck and head. Increasing the distance allows for more force to be generated prior to any contact between the two players, thus increasing the energy exchanged at impact and increasing the likelihood of injuries to the head, neck, and shoulder. This proposal seems to go against the overall positive trend of structuring the game to reduce the possibility of head injuries and concussions. We would ask that the Committee rescind this proposal.

"Second, the banning of the motorcycle grip for safety reasons raises the question of what is unsafe about the technique. From a physiological perspective, the motorcycle grip seems to place less stress on the joints in the right arm, especially when the arm is under force. The conventional grip appears to allow for the possibility of injury because it requires a restrictive movement of the right wrist and typically locks the right elbow, placing the entire right arm and shoulder in jeopardy. From a safety perspective, we can find no reason to prohibit the motorcycle grip. We would ask that the Committee rescind this proposal.

"Third, removing the five-­second restart raises broader issues that we would recommend the Committee address. While we support the "quick start" proposed by the Committee, we want to point out that serious safety issues arise when the goalie is out of the crease -- for any reason -- and a midfielder or defenseman steps into the crease as his proxy. These players lack the proper safety equipment required for goalies, most notably a throat protector and full protective chest pad, placing them at risk of injury. Regardless of the circumstances that cause such situations, we would recommend that the Committee develop a formal protocol for discouraging players from placing themselves in such a potentially injurious position."

Men's rules committee chair Jon Hind told Lacrosse Magazine last week that the rules committee would meet via conference call in the "middle or end of next week" to discuss the changes, and suggested that the majority of the discussion would focus on the faceoff proposals, which have elicited much response from the faceoff community in particular.

Related Coverage

* NCAA Rules Committee Proposes Major Changes
* Q&A With Committee Chair Jon Hind
* Faceoff Specialists Unite in Opposition to Proposed Rules Changes
* Faceoff Veterans React