The Guardian / Tom Dart / Thu 24 Feb 2022
Becca Losch wore goggles and a mouthguard. She did exercises to strengthen her knee ligaments. Yet the prospect of a head injury barely crossed her mind.
In 2012, while a student at a New Jersey high school, she was hit in the back of the head by a lacrosse ball during a warm-up drill before a game. She does not remember falling to the ground, being helped up by teammates and carrying on.
The next six months were a blur of pain, confusion and frustration. Before her concussion, Losch was an energetic honour student who played lacrosse, basketball and soccer. Her health deteriorated so gravely that she struggled to read, write, walk up stairs and brush her teeth. She became too unwell to attend school, enduring migraines, eye pain, photosensitivity, insomnia, nausea, exhaustion, dizziness, tinnitus and an inability to focus.
A major study of 357,225 games and practices published in 2021 by University of Florida Health also indicates that headgear can have a significant protective effect in female high school lacrosse. Researchers found that states without headgear mandates had a 59% higher concussion rate compared to Florida. The disparity rose to 74% during competitions, since games are more dangerous than training sessions.