Experts React to Lacrosse Injury
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"It was just obviously a life changing, horrible injury that would happen to a young athlete," said Adrienne Jester, an athletic trainer.
It was March 2001 when an RIT lacrosse player was struck by a ball during warm ups prior to the Tigers’ first game of the season in Philadelphia. That player later died from his injuries.
Jester was an assistant trainer at RIT and tended to the player on the field. Now the head trainer at Nazareth College, Adrienne says that episode led to changes in her profession. She says defibrillators are now on site for all team games and practices.
"We're out there for pregame, sometimes we would get out there a little bit late for pregame. An AED is on the sideline for practices. A certified is there every moment of their practices once they start to pass the ball around, so, just being more diligent and being ready if the situation were to ever arise again,” said Jester.
The NCAA now requires all head coaches to be trained in CPR and in the use of defibrillators. Nazareth has taken it a step further and also trains assistant and volunteer coaches.
In the college game, a lacrosse ball can travel at speeds up to 100 miles per hour, if not more. The velocity is much lower at the youth level; however, doctors say it's those younger players that are susceptible to the type of injury the 12 year old suffered last week.
"The sports where we see this the most, lacrosse and baseball probably being the two,” said Dr. Chad Teeters, a cardiologist.
Teeters is a cardiologist at Highland Hospital. He says even though this type of injury is rare, a ball doesn't have to be traveling at a high rate of speed to cause a young player to go into cardiac arrest.
"The ball is small enough that it strikes at just the right locale, a directed force, the ball has to be moving at a velocity of somewhere around 35 miles per hour. So, high school kids are throwing the ball or moving the ball much too quickly, little leagues, Pee Wee leagues aren't moving the ball fast enough. This 10 to 13 age group is about the age where the ball moves at that velocity, and kids, whether it matters or not, tend to be smaller framed, thinner chest wall, so they seem to be more prone because of it," Teeters said.
An off duty firefighter performed CPR on the 12-year-old player last week until emergency crews arrived. Teeters says that quick action can be vital to the boy’s chances for recovery.