Lacrosse is a sport deeply embedded in traditions and respect for the game. The biomechanics necessary to be successful in the sport demand athletes to possess the speed and power of football and hockey athletes as well as the endurance, agility, and strategy of basketball and soccer athletes. With these physical and mental skills athletes are expected to perform shooting, passing, and checking with precision. The sport’s combination of speed, sticks, balls, and contact make for a unique set of injury types, biomechanics, and preventative interventions. Injuries range from minor strains and sprains to season ending anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears, broken bones, and severe concussions. Rehabilitation specialists and strength and conditioning coaches must have a good understanding of each injury sustained in order to ensure each athlete is returned to play based on an appropriate timeline for tissue healing and reinjury is not likely to occur.
Lacrosse is the most rapidly growing sport in North America. Since 2003, overall growth of the sport has increased by 41%.1 Youth participation alone has grown over 77% since 2006 to nearly 400,000 participants in 2012. Thirty new collegiate varsity teams began play in 2012, with a projected 48 more to begin by the end of 2013.2 The sport has many different arenas starting from youth and high school levels, branching to collegiate teams and club levels, and finally climaxing with national and international teams.
The modern sport first came into popularity on the Northeastern Coast of the United States and Southeastern Canada. It has since spread west through North America and to 45 other nations. However, the sport of lacrosse has been played for centuries in North America and has its roots in Native American tradition, making it the oldest team sport known on the continent. In Native American tradition, lacrosse was played to resolve conflict, heal the sick, and develop strong men. Today the game is still referred to as “The Creator’s Game” by the founding population. The sport gained its modern name in 1637 when French missionaries observed Native Americans playing a ball game with sticks that resembled a bishop’s crosier, hence “lacrosse”. The first collegiate game was played at New York University in 1877, followed by the first high school games starting in 1882. Women’s lacrosse had a delayed start with the first game occurring at St. Leonard’s School in Scotland in 1890; however, the first official women’s team was not established until 1926 at the Bryn Mawr School in Baltimore, Maryland.2
Like the traditional version of the sport, modern lacrosse is a mild contact sport that requires speed, agility, and power. The 60-min game is played at a continuous, fast pace and resembles a mixture of soccer, basketball, and ice hockey. Thus, the speed and power of football and hockey athletes as well as the endurance, agility, and strategy of soccer and basketball athletes must all be mastered. ...