January 11, 2013

US Lacrosse Presents Latest on Sport's Health and Safety

by Paul Ohanian | LaxMagazine.com | Convention Live Blog

Drs. Andy Lincoln (right) and Margot Putukian of the US Lacrosse Sports Science and Safety Committee address the crowd at the US Lacrosse Sports Medicine Symposium Friday morning in conjunction with the US Lacrosse National Convention, presented by Champion, in Philadelphia.

©John Strohsacker/laxphotos.com

PHILADELPHIA – Perhaps the most telling comment about the 2013 US Lacrosse Sports Medicine Symposium came from one of the coaches who was speaking to a friend as they were exiting Friday's event.

"All coaches should hear this information," he said.

That was typical of the feedback from attendees at the event, held in Philadelphia in conjunction with the first day of the annual US Lacrosse National Convention, presented by Champion. An audience of medical personnel, athletic trainers, coaches, officials and program administrators heard the latest research updates and injury information from national experts as it relates to men's and women's lacrosse.

"As a program administrator and parent, this is important information to know as this game explodes," said another. "I'm glad I came."

The half-day symposium was divided into four segments, with each segment populated by three or four varied presentations and speakers.

The first segment included an update on the state of the game from US Lacrosse President and CEO Steve Stenersen. It also included a report from Dr. Ruben Echemendia, a member of the US Lacrosse Sports Science and Safety Committee, on findings from the recent Zurich Consensus Conference on Concussion in Sport.

"That was good information to hear," said David Boots, a coach and official from St. Louis. "It was very instructive."

Boots said that he appreciated hearing the concussion research data presented by Dr. Margot Putukian, chair of the US Lacrosse Sports Science and Safety Committee, and several other speakers.

"I enjoyed the research information because it went beyond just the anecdotal info that we always hear," Boots said.

A number of high school and college athletic trainers also seized the opportunity to get updated on some of the latest lacrosse injury and prevention information. Greg Penczek and Tara Stritch, athletic trainers for the Towson University men's and women's lacrosse teams, considered the two-hour drive to Philadelphia time well spent.

"It's nice to have an event like this that is geared to lacrosse," Penczek said.

While concussions dominate today's headlines, another presenter, Dr. Richard Hinton, outlined the fact that ACL injuries are the leading cause of game and practice missed time by athletes. One sobering statistic highlighted the fact that less than 60 percent of all athletes who sustain an ACL injury return to the same level of play following the injury.

"This is a life altering injury," Hinton told the audience.

He also noted that the knee is designed for bi-pedal gait, moderate speed, and long distance running, not the jump, cut, twist and turn sports in which humans choose to participate.

"Any time an athlete is on the field, they are exposed to injury risk," said Justin Cooper, a physical therapist who was among the day's presenters.

Dr. Douglas McKeag, team physician for the 2012 U.S. Men's Under-19 Team, noted that shoulder injuries often get overshadowed in lacrosse by head and lower extremity injuries.

"They may be subtle, but they can be chronic and debilitating," he said.

Penczek appreciated the depth of knowledge at the event, as well as the timing. Practices for many college lacrosse teams begin in the next two weeks.

"These were some really good panels for us as athletic trainers," he said. "And the timing couldn't be better since it comes just prior to the start of the season."

Another attendee had similar thoughts.

"I would love to have this committee always present the latest lacrosse research at the convention," he said.

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