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Common Lacrosse Injuries

Jen Fox provides an overview of the history of Lacrosse, common injuries incurred when participating in the sport, how to reduce the risk of an injury, and finally the treatment of injuries.

Lacrosse is a fast-paced game that is played with balls and nets mounted on long sticks. It is popular in schools, community leagues, and even professional teams across the United States and Canada; it is also gaining popularity in amateur leagues in the UK.

The game was originated by the native tribes on the American continent, and it went by several names including da-nah-wah'uwsdi (little war), tewaarathon (little brother of war), it was the French settlers that gave it the name Lacrosse. Some resources speculate that they used the skulls of their vanquished enemies, as well as clay, stone, and sometimes wood as the balls. The game was originally played by hundreds of players on fields that ranged from 500 yards to a couple of miles in length, and a single game could last for days. Traditional Lacrosse was physically demanding, and players were often injured.

As European settlers appropriated the game for themselves, lacrosse transformed from a violent and spiritual training activity to a recreational activity. The fields got smaller, the duration of the game shortened, and the number of players was reduced. However, what remained the same were the physical demands of the game and the risk of injury.

Common Lacrosse Injuries

Lacrosse is considered a moderate risk sport, and most of the injuries are what you would experience in any other sport: sprains, strains, and bruises. However, there are also contact and non-contact injuries that are specific to lacrosse.

Contact Injuries

Head and face injuries can occur if a player is struck by the ball or the stick; this included concussions. Players can also suffer bodily injuries, such as sprains, tears, bruising, and even fractures, especially the wrists, if there is body to body or body to ground contact.

Non-contact Injuries

Joint sprains and strain, especially in the knees and ankles, are the most common lacrosse injury and are usually caused by the cutting and dodging movements during gameplay.

Hamstring strains and hip flexor strains are also common, and often the result of too forceful movement during gameplay. The combination of an upper leg strain and the activities associated with gameplay can also lead to lower back pain.

Shin splints and blisters are also prevalent injuries.

Some injuries are also more common among different genders, due to the various gameplay rules. For example, women are more likely to experience head and face wounds than men.

Preventing Lacrosse Injuries

The best way to prevent injury is to make sure you have the right equipment in good condition, and the correct size. For adults, this means periodically checking your equipment for wear and tear and replacing or repairing it when necessary. For children, this means you will have to replace the equipment often as they experience growth spurts.

Because lacrosse equipment can be expensive, it might be tempting to try to alter existing equipment to get a few more months of use out of it, but that can be dangerous. Instead, consider purchasing equipment from shops that specialize in reselling used sports equipment; or finding an online retailer like Lacrosse Monkey, which specializes in lacrosse equipment and often has decent sales and discounts. You can consider doing an equipment exchange with fellow Lacrosse parents.

Other ways of preventing injury include:

  • Undertaking an appropriate Lacrosse Training Program
  • Warming up and stretching before each game and practice session
  • Staying in shape with cardiovascular conditioning, strength training, and flexibility exercises during the offseason
  • Staying well hydrated during each game and practice session
  • Scheduling breaks and rest days during both the active and off-seasons to allow for recovery and prevent overuse injuries
  • Respecting the gameplay rules; and recognizing pain signals and discontinuing an activity before it becomes an injury.

Treating Injuries

If you find that you are injured, you should do the following:

  • Stop playing immediately and report the injury to your coach
  • Have your coach, or team medic, inspect the injury to determine the severity
  • Apply ice and compression and allow a period of rest for minor injuries. If necessary, rest for the remainder of the game
  • Go to the emergency room for severe injuries such as concussions, ACL/MCL strains, or fractures
  • Consult your doctor to determine if you need any follow-up care
  • Follow your doctor's instructions regarding treating the injury and returning to your usual activities.

Page Reference

If you quote information from this page in your work, then the reference for this page is:

  • FOX, J. (2014) Common Lacrosse Injuries [WWW] Available from: [Accessed

About the Author

Jen Fox is a freelance writer.