Epidemiology of injuries in men’s lacrosse: injury prevention implications for competition level, type of play, and player position

Kim D. Barber Foss, Ed Le Cara, Teri McCambridge, Richard Hinton, Adam Kushner, Gregory D. Myer

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Objective: The growth in participation in men’s lacrosse has increased the likelihood of sport-specific injuries, yet there continues to be a need for specific epidemiological data concerning lacrosse injuries. The purpose of this literature review is to aggregate available published data on injuries that occur in the sport of men’s lacrosse at the youth, high school, collegiate, and professional levels. Methods: A comprehensive literature search was performed in PubMed, High Wire Press, SPORTDiscus, Google Scholar, and Ovid, using the keywords Lacrosse Injuries, Epidemiology Lacrosse Injuries, Lacrosse Injury, Lacrosse AND Injury and limited to 1990–2016. All bibliographies were cross-referenced to identify any additional publications. Sources were categorized based on data provided and were aggregated into groups based on reported overall injury rates, rates by setting (competition vs. practice), nature of injury, location, type, severity, and player position. Results: The game and practice injury rates in college are greater than the rates in high school, similarly rates greater for high school players than in youth leagues. Rates of injury varied from 0.095–12.98 per 1000 athlete exposures. Game injury rates were higher across all studies. Injuries in men’s lacrosse occur most often from player-to-player contact, which result in immediate injuries, such as concussions, contusions, and lacerations. Overall concussion incidence was reported to range from 0.11–0.84 per 1000 AE. The most common types of injuries were sprain, strain, concussion, and contusions and the most common area of injury was hand (23%), with a significant proportion of these (59.4%) being to the thumb. Limited evidence of different injuries among the player positions suggests there might be a pattern that midfield players had the most injuries, followed by offensive players and then defensive players. Conclusions: The potential for sports-related injury is of relative concern; especially considering rising participation and total number of injuries. Further development and proper enforcement of safety rules on player contact and protective equipment are recommended to decrease the rate of lacrosse-related injury. Additional longitudinal research is needed to better classify and to ultimately predict lacrosse injury factors and mechanisms across all levels of play.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)224-233
Number of pages10
JournalPhysician and Sportsmedicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 3 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Lacrosse
  • athlete
  • epidemiology
  • injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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