Sacred Heart study looks into lacrosse head impacts

FAIRFIELD, Conn. (WTNH)–At Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, researchers are working to learn more about concussions in contact sports outside of football.

Boys and men’s lacrosse is one of the fastest growing team sports in the U.S. The Sacred Heart men’s lacrosse team volunteered to take part in the study on head impacts.

“We are fortunate enough to have full participation from all of our players on the team,” said Dr. Theresa Miyashita.

After games and practices, Dr. Miyashita ingests the data and analyzes the results.

“We were able to see that our goal keepers are sustaining some pretty hard impacts as compared to some of the other players,” she said.

While less than football and hockey, some substantial hits have been recorded.

“It depends on the player and the position but we’ve seen two the three but we’ve also seen 30-40 impacts a game,” said Dr. Myashita.

The research reaches another level, as all forty players are tested before and after the season.

“What we want to see if these players over their career–college careers specifically– is do they see neuro cognitive deficits? “said Dr. Myashita.

Balance performance is measured along with vision testing to see how a season playing collegiate lacrosse impacts the brain.

“When we took the totals of those scores we were able to see some deficits associated, and correlating that to their head impacts,” said Dr. Myashita.

All the combined information does show some change, but nothing that points to major player by player health implications.

It’s positive news for parents and players of lacrosse, but the research continues.

“We are seeing a lot more research focus and attention – boys and girls soccer, even cheerleading – because we are seeing a lot of injuries besides football players,” said Dr. Myashita.