Friday, January 8, 2016
SHU to study head impacts of lacrosse players
Football head injuries have been garnering the headlines lately. Now Sacred Heart University in Fairfield will help determine if another sport might also be bad for the brain.
U.S. Lacrosse, the sport’s Maryland-based governing body, has awarded Sacred Heart University’s athletic training education program a $15,000 grant to study the effects of on-the-field head impacts over the course of the Pioneers’ college men’s lacrosse season.
Students in the program will work with professors and staff to collect data throughout the spring 2016 season by using helmet-mounted impact sensors during games and practices. The study, which is titled “The Effect of Cumulative Impacts on Vestibular Ocular Reflex in Division I Men’s Lacrosse Players,” will be managed by Theresa Miyashita, director of the SHU athletic training education program, with help from Clinical Assistant Professor Eleni Diakogeorgiou and Kaitlyn Marrie, SHU athletic trainer.
“Little research has been focused on lacrosse, and it is the fastest-growing team sport in the U.S.,” Miyashita said. “It is a high-contact, equipment-intensive sport that needs more research.” Miyashita has particular insight, and affinity, for health in lacrosse players; her husband is a former professional player who is now assistant coach of the SHU men’s team.
U.S. Lacrosse awarded the grant to allow SHU to purchase the equipment needed to conduct the research, including helmet sensors to record the severity and frequency of head impacts and a system for pre- and post-testing athletes for head injury.
Miyashita said she is excited about the research as both an educational experience for the students and for its potential effects on the future health of lacrosse players at all levels.
“We have a great group here doing some really interesting research on a very important and hot topic,” she said. “Our primary goal is to investigate the potential cumulative effects of sub-concussive impacts on collegiate lacrosse players, ultimately to improve player safety.”