NCAA Reclassifies Lacrosse as “Intermediate” COVID Risk

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In a move that could go a long way to playing a season next year, the NCAA has reclassified men’s and women’s lacrosse as sports with intermediate risk for COVID-19 transmission in its return-to-play guidelines, encouraging news especially as US Lacrosse lobbies the NFHS, state and local authorities to do the same for boys’ lacrosse.

In a 29-page document titled “Resocialization of Collegiate Sport: Developing Standards for Practice and Competition,” the NCAA Sport Science Institute updated its recommendations for COVID-19 testing and transmission risk classification for each sport.

The NCAA originally had classified lacrosse among sports with a high risk of COVID-19 transmission when it published the first edition of this document in July.

“The US Lacrosse Sports Science and Safety Committee supports boys’ and girls’ lacrosse being grouped together in the moderate-risk category,” says Dr. Gene Hong, chair of the committee and co-chair of the US Lacrosse Return to Play medical advisory group.

Field hockey, rowing, soccer and volleyball (with face masks) were also reclassified as posing intermediate risk — leaving basketball, football, ice hockey, volleyball (without face masks), water polo and wrestling as the only sports in the high-risk category.

The NFHS has classified girls' lacrosse as a moderate-risk sport, but has labeled boys' lacrosse as a high-risk sport, a designation that US Lacrosse has asked the national high school sports association to reconsider.

US Lacrosse has written letters to government officials in states that list lacrosse classification as high-risk. US Lacrosse also is participating in a multi-sport survey examining COVID-19 risk and leading grassroots efforts to organize lacrosse league and program leaders’ outreach to their local public officials about the importance of changing risk classification.

In other US Lacrosse news, the association’s rule that all chest protectors for goalies meet NOCSAE standard ND200 and have an SEI certification mark will go into effect January 1, 2021. This will be mandatory in the boys/men and girls/women rules for US Lacrosse, the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) and NCAA.

Chest protectors meeting NOCSAE standard ND200 reduce the risk of commotio cordis (cardiac arrest caused by a blow to the heart area). All non-goalies will be required to wear chest protection meeting this standard starting January 1, 2022.

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