Arguably the biggest issue in college lacrosse is the perceived and actual safety of the game. If college lacrosse is putting its playing constituency in unacceptably hazardous positions from a health standpoint, the viability of lacrosse -- as an entity -- is limited.
This isn't unrefined position. Football, as an analogue, has been enveloped in questions about the health impact of the game after many have raised questions about and conducted research into football's consequences on the human body. As a direct or indirect response to football's health and safety issues, youth football participation has dropped precipitously -- 9.5 percent between 2010-2012 -- in recent years (there has to be at least a minimum connection between the participation drop at the youth level in football and concerns about head injuries). These issues -- especially specific inquiries into concussions -- are significantly important to lacrosse, even if football and lacrosse exist in different realities.
Collision sports inherently create danger, and that hazard is assumed with the knowledge that there could be health-related injuries associated with participating in the sport. The two important questions that stem from this principle, though, are the following:
- Whether the health hazard of participating in a sport is fully understood; and
- Whether the sport itself is taking sufficient steps to mitigate any health-related injuries that are beyond the scope of what is and what is not acceptable.
The greater the number of smart people seeking to acquire information about the safety of lacrosse and what the game does to its participants from a physical standpoint, the more other smart people within lacrosse are able to make informed decisions about what needs to be done to ensure that players aren't destined for a miserable quality of life in the future. Lacrosse isn't going to lose its physical nature, thus requiring continued research so as to ensure -- to a degree that is achievable -- that people aren't irreversibly ruining the gooey stuff in their skull.