The Ivy League adopted rule changes to cut down on concussions in lacrosse and soccer, including less contact during practice and an emphasis on teaching safer playing techniques. It said it found 50 concussion cases in men’s lacrosse in the last three seasons.
Presidents of the eight schools voted to approve the changes in men’s and women’s lacrosse and men’s and women’s soccer, according to an e-mailed statement. The policies will take effect for the 2012-13 academic year.
The recommendations came from the conference’s Multi-Sport Concussion Review Committee, which arose from a concussion study of football conducted last year. The committee used national research in addition to three years of concussion data from Ivy League schools.
“Expanding our review to include more sports is another way to drive the discussion and help student-athletes across our broad-based athletics programs,” Ivy League Executive Director Robin Harris said in the statement.
Men’s lacrosse teams must designate 11 combined days of practice in which body checking is barred, and allow only one full-contact practice per day, according to the release. Women’s lacrosse teams must modify 10 spring practices to exclude stick- checking.
Lacrosse and soccer coaches will designate more time during the season to teach proper technique for protecting athletes’ heads during competition, according to the release. They must also continue to educate their players about the prevention, assessment and treatment of head injuries.
The committee’s report listed 50 concussions for men’s lacrosse teams in the past three years, with 40 coming on player-to-player contact. The study didn’t list how many concussions it found in the three other sports.
The Ivy League is an association of eight elite, Northeast U.S. schools that have high academic standards and don’t provide athletic scholarships. Founded in 1954 and based in Princeton, New Jersey, the conference sponsors 33 men’s and women’s sports with more than 8,000 athletes competing each year.
The changes come one month after the league announced a partnership with the Big Ten conference to study head-injury assessment and prevention. The National Football League is facing lawsuits from more than 2,000 former players seeking damages for head injuries sustained on the field, and the Pop Warner youth football organization is limiting contact in practices to reduce the risk of concussions.
Ivy League lacrosse and soccer teams will continue to collect concussion data to advance the study, according to the release. The conference announced that a similar review of men’s and women’s ice hockey will be completed later this year.
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