Although a latecomer as part of lacrosse equipment, lacrosse helmets are essential if a lacrosse player is to avoid head injuries during the game. Lacrosse is a contact sport and there is always the possibility of a player’s head getting into contact with another player, a stick or the ball. When the sport was first played, helmets were not part of lacrosse equipment. As recently as the 1948 Olympic Games, only the US lacrosse team wore helmets. In men’s lacrosse, helmets are now mandatory for all levels while in women’s lacrosse, only the goalie is required to wear a helmet.
Modern day lacrosse helmets are made of a hard plastic non-adjustable shell with thick padding on the inside. Lacrosse helmets have a face mask made of metal and a chin pad which are secured to the head by a chin strap. Some players add a sun visor to the helmet, but this is not allowed in most leagues. There seems to be some resistance to making helmet use obligatory. Attempts by Australian lacrosse bodies to have the optional helmet rule adopted in women’s lacrosse international play have not been successful. In the USA, the governing body US Lacrosse has not endorsed helmet use, even though it requires the use of goggles and mouth guards.
Lacrosse helmets have 4 helmet hook ups for a 4-point buckling system to make sure that the helmet is properly adjusted. In addition to comfort and fit, the lacrosse helmet has to be adjusted for optimum vision. Here’s how to adjust a lacrosse helmet properly.
- First, unsnap the chin strap from the four hook up points and put it aside.
- Putting on the helmet and holding each side with your hands, rock it back and forth then twist it until it fits firmly on your head. Make sure the front of the helmet is just above the brow so you can see properly.
- After reattaching the chin strap, lift the helmet to see if it is too loose or too tight. Unsnap the chin strap.
- Work the buckles of the chin strap by hand to tighten or loosen the chin strap. Put on the helmet and reattach the chin strap then check for the fit of the helmet. If further adjustment is needed, repeat the process by working further on the buckles until the helmet fits firmly and comfortably.
As with all other gear, proper care and maintenance of lacrosse helmets will help guarantee a long and useful life for this important piece of lacrosse equipment.