228973 Effectiveness of the Women's Lacrosse Protective Eyewear Mandate in the Reduction of Eye Injuries

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Andrew E. Lincoln, ScD, MS , Union Memorial Hospital, Sports Medicine Research Center, Baltimore, MD
Shane Caswell, PhD, VATL, ATC , Sports Medicine Assessment, Research and Testing Laboratory, George Mason University, Manassas, VA
Jon L. Almquist, ATC , Athletic Training Program, Fairfax County Public Schools, Falls Church, VA
Reginald Dunn , Sports Health Research Center, Union Memorial Hospital, Baltimore, MD
Mark Clough, MD , Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Union Memorial Hospital, Baltimore, MD
Randall Dick, MA , Sports Medicine, Health and Safety Sports Consultants, LLC, Carmel, IN
Richard Y. Hinton, MD, MPH , Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Union Memorial Hospital, Baltimore, MD
Background: US Lacrosse initiated mandatory use of protective eyewear in women's lacrosse in the 2004-2005 season in response to findings of higher head, face, and eye injuries in the women's game than in the men's game. Hypothesis/purpose: We compared eye injury rates in girls' scholastic lacrosse before and after implementation of protective eyewear. We also compared head and facial injury rates, concussion rates, and overall injury rates before and after the rule change to assess unintended consequences of the change. Study design: Descriptive epidemiology study. Methods: The study group included girls playing scholastic lacrosse in the 25 public high schools in Fairfax County, VA, during the 2004-2008 spring seasons. Injury rates were compared with those from the same data source during the 1999-2003 seasons. Results: The rate of eye injuries was reduced from 0.06 injuries per 1000 athletic-exposures (AEs) in 1998 through 2003 before use of protective eyewear to 0.02 injuries per 1000 AEs in 2004 through 2007 (incident rate ratio [IRR]: 0.32, 95% CI: 0.11, 0.96). Rates of other head/face injuries decreased, though not significantly (IRR: 0.73, 95% CI: 0.42, 1.20). IRRs of concussion (2.2, 95% CI: 1.5, 3.2) and all injuries combined (1.5, 95% CI: 1.3, 1.7) increased after introduction of protective eyewear. Conclusions: Eye and other head/face injuries were reduced among female scholastic lacrosse players after implementation of protective eyewear. Increases were observed for rates of concussions and all injuries after the rule change.

Learning Objectives:
1. To evaluate the effect of the protective eyewear mandate on eye injury rates in scholastic girls’ lacrosse. 2. To assess the possible unintended consequences of more head injuries outside the protected area.

Keywords: Injury Control, Children and Adolescents

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to be an abstract Author on the content I am responsible for because I oversee programs such as sports injury prevention.
Any relevant financial relationships? Yes

Name of Organization Clinical/Research Area Type of relationship
US Lacrosse Sport Science & Safety Committee Advisory Committee/Board and Independent Contractor (contracted research and clinical trials)

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.