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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A debate is raging around a popular high school sport on Long Island: Should girls be required to wear helmets during lacrosse games?
Maggie Moore told CBS 2′s Carolyn Gusoff on Monday that she loves to toss around the lacrosse ball, but that she had to give up on competing in the sport after suffering back to back concussions.
“I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t focus in school,” she said.
Now, the Freeport 10th grader is lobbying for helmets to be required in girls lacrosse. Current rules have girls wearing mouth guards and goggles, while boys are covered in protective equipment, Maggie told CBS 2.
“There is nothing that makes a boy’s brain more important than a girl’s brain. Why should they get that kind of protection and we don’t?” she said.
Parents echoed Moore’s sentiments.
“We wear helmets when we ride bikes, and everyone is concerned about head injuries, and yet we send thousands of girls into lacrosse every day without any protective headgear,” Christine Anglim said.
Some girls wear an optional, soft helmet.
“I play attack, I get hit in the head. With a helmet I feel more confident,” eighth grader Jamie Ortega said.
Experts told CBS 2 that helmets are currently prohibited in girls lacrosse because the sport is considered “non-contact” and that the addition of helmets could make the game rougher.
“Our rules are made to keep them safe, so there shouldn’t be any checks to the head,” coach Lindsay Dolson said.
In spite of rules that ban certain forms of checking, players say it happens anyway, and that shots to the face from a ball with a cement core are common.
Officials countered that giving Moore and helmet advocates what they want won’t necessarily change anything.
“Even if we mandate hard shell helmets, it’s not going to prevent concussions from happening in girls lacrosse,” said New York State Public High School Athletic Association Assistant Director Todd Nelson.
The association recently voted to employ U.S. Lacrosse rules, which are followed by many athletic associations. U.S. Lacrosse has recently asked manufacturers to develop a helmet for girl’s lacrosse.
U.S. Lacrosse has also made a recent rule change that makes it illegal for the stick and ball to enter the area around a player’s head.
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