US Lacrosse CEO: Say No to Status Quo


"We’ve introduced some radical concepts that question the status quo — generating both praise and concern of our efforts," writes US Lacrosse CEO Steve Stenersen.

Since the inception of US Lacrosse, injury prevention and education have been signifi cant priorities, leading to a body of research and the founding of our Center for Sport Science.

Thanks to the support of members and donors, as well as the leadership of our Sports Science and Safety Committee, we have led, supported and/or funded more than 20 lacrosse studies that have been peer-reviewed and published over the last 15 years. Informed by that research, we’ve introduced some radical concepts that question the status quo — generating both praise and concern of our efforts to evolve youth rules, standardize how players are grouped and right-size player experience through the Lacrosse Athlete Development Model.

Yet efforts to eliminate collision in youth boys’ lacrosse continued to face resistance from league and tournament leaders. Similarly, the recent development of a manufacturing standard for headgear in girls’ lacrosse, which has long been allowed in the rules without clarifi cation, is viewed by some as a threat to the integrity of game.

Research shows that chronological age best determines a child’s physical, cognitive and emotional abilities. So, segmenting lacrosse players based primarily on birth year, rather than projected high school graduation year, should increase both player safety and competition integrity. And, introducing younger players to a version of lacrosse that is proportional to their developmental stage would seem to be just as logical as it is rooted in the dispassionate fi ndings of researchers.

Change is hard. But we must accept the responsibility to question the way we’ve always done things in order to best position our sport for continued growth.

This column appears in the January "Sport Science" edition of US Lacrosse Magazine. Watch lacrosse superstar Paul Rabil's Q&A with Stenersen from #LaxCon tonight on Facebook Live.

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