Next time you see these girls on the high school lacrosse field, they’ll be wearing helmets
2017 girls scholastic lacrosse championships in Florida mark end of an era
HOLMDEL, NJ (April 25, 2017) On April 28-29, in Jupiter, the Florida High School Lacrosse State Championships will crown the finest girls teams from around the state. But these playoff contests, directed by the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA), will be the final games in which the crowns of the girls’ heads will actually be visible. Beginning next season, the FHSAA has mandated that all girls competing at a varsity, junior varsity, or freshman level must wear helmets on the field that meet the ASTM International (formerly the American Society for Testing and Materials) F3137 standard. This mandate is the first of its kind issued anywhere in the U.S.
“Once this season concludes, a new era will begin in Florida girls lacrosse – and possibly around the entire nation,” says Rob Stolker, founder and owner of Hummingbird Sports, one of only two companies marketing headgear specific to girls lacrosse. “The use of helmets across Florida was made mandatory because of the risk players face from contact both with sticks and balls. In football, plastic shell helmets became standard equipment in the 1940s, helmet laws for children riding bicycles became widespread in the 1980s, ski racers embraced use of helmets between 2000 and 2010, and now it’s girls lacrosse’s turn. It’s much safer, so it just makes sense.”
As NFL Hall-of-Fame quarterback Troy Aikman tweeted yesterday: “For all of the studies that have been conducted on head injuries, it is unfathomable that helmets are not worn in women’s lacrosse.”
The soft-sided, fully F3137-compliant helmets provided by Hummingbird feature Windpact’s Crash CloudTM technology, which is specifically designed to reduce the risk of concussion, traumatic brain injury, and CTE. Windpact was founded by former NFL All-Pro cornerback Shawn Springs, now the company’s CEO, who is passionate about helping to protect current and future athletes.
Hummingbird’s helmets are adjustable, and come in three sizes – XS, S/M, and L. They feature 18 distinct cooling vents and a ponytail opening, and also have a removable, spin dial for a snug, comfortable fit. In addition, they work with a player’s existing goggles.
“Among the athletes playing girls lacrosse, goggles are perhaps the most distinctive equipment,” explains Stolker, whose company is the leading sporting goods brand exclusively focused on empowering female athletes and supporting their unique needs. “Players put significant effort into finding just the right pair – one that fits well and looks good, too – which is where Hummingbird’s helmets come in. Players report superior sight lines when they compete with their own goggles and a separate helmet, versus a helmet with built-in goggles. At Hummingbird, our headgear accommodates any protective eyewear.”
During the 2017 season, the FHSAA required girls lacrosse players to wear some type of head protection. Many elected to utilize padded headbands. Scholastic boys lacrosse is played under rules that are significantly different than the girls game, and boys nationwide are required to wear helmets.
Additional information on Hummingbird Sports’ helmets for girls lacrosse is available by calling (888) 501-1590 or visiting www.hummingbirdsports.com.
“At the outer edges of endurance sports, something interesting is happening: women are beating men”
Rory Bosio proved to everyone that she has what it takes to compete on a global scale when she made her mark in August of 2013. Bosio competed in the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc, a 106-mile course through the French, Swiss, and Italian Alps that climbs more than 33,000 feet.
“She trailed well behind the leaders for the first six hours. But as the race stretched into the evening and most competitors slowed, Bosio held her pace. When the American runner in pink shoes and a blue running skirt crossed the finish line in 22 hours 37 minutes, she’s destroyed the women’s record by 2.5 hours!”
She finished seventh overall, becoming the first woman to crack the top ten at the event as well as beating dozens of elite pro men.
As mentioned in the Outside Online article, this isn’t the first time that a woman has broke through at a major endurance competition. There was Pam Reed, who won consecutive 135-mile ultramarathons. Amelia Boone, who took second overall at the World’s Toughest Mudder. Lael Wilcox, who became the first woman to win the Trans Am, a 4,300-mile unsupported cycling sufferfest from Oregon to Virginia.
“[Wilcox] completed the route in just over 18 days after passing Greek rider Steffen Streich in the middle of the final night. When she caught him, Streich proposed that they ride together to the finish. Her response: ‘No way, it’s a race.’” Talk about girl power.
“In one weekend this past December, women runners took five outright victories in ultramarathons across the country, with 42-year-old Caroline Boller setting a new course record at the Brazos Bend 50-mile trail race in Texas.”
The point in all of this isn’t to say that women are better than men, or that one sex is more superior than the other. But rather, it is to prove that women are a lot tougher than a lot of people realized.
“Women have smaller muscles, but their muscles don’t tire as quickly.”
Whether it’s playing lacrosse, working a 12-hour shift, or being a full-time mom, we know that women are masters of endurance and capable of working hard for long periods of time. However, there’s still not a lot of research out there to clearly illustrate what we already know.
“While women do appear to have some biological advantages in endurance, those advantages remain poorly understood because of a lack of research.”
Whatever the case, women are tough. We can do it all and not grow tired of it. We can fight harder, endure longer, and finish faster because we’ve got the right stuff. Our favorite quote from the Outside article was this:
“All these guys will go out hot, and hours later I catch them,” says endurance athlete Rebecca Rusch. “They always ask, ‘Why do you start so slowly?’ And I answer, ‘Why do you finish so slowly?’”
In life or in sports, we love this answer.
Read about how Hummingbird Sports started and the technology behind our head gear’s design on Brooklyn Sports World. We’re always appreciative when others can see the vision we have for providing a safer option of play in women’s lacrosse.
In the recent article from the Richmond Times-Dispatch, details about the design and support that NFL star Shawn Springs provided the founder of Hummingbird Sports.
Last October the U.S. Lacrosse Association made wearing helmets in Women’s Lacrosse optional in an effort to make the sport safer, and cut down on head injuries.
This announcement has been met by both people embracing the new safety measure, and some resisting the change. Although girls lacrosse does not allow any intentional contact, the reality is that players can still be on the receiving end of the ball, another player, or an opposing stick.
Support for standardized use of helmets in girls lacrosse is growing. With the approval of two styles of helmets by U.S. Lacrosse (one being our Hummingbird), we feel the sport is becoming safer. We’re excited at the recent news articles and growing awareness among players and fans alike at the importance of safe play.
Long Island Newsday wrote an excellent article giving a good overview of the reasons behind wearing helmets in girls lacrosse.
Likewise, News 12 highlighted players in the community that are in the midst of transitioning from no-helmet gameplay to a helmet-optional environment.
We’re extremely proud to be a part of this new and much needed addition to the sport of women’s lacrosse.
In honor of International Women’s Day, we took a moment to think about some athletic women and the heroes they were. On a day in which we stand with everyone who is striving for equal rights and opportunities for women, these four remind us that we can play, run and achieve with the best of them. Regardless of gender, race, religion, political views, or job titles, we can all stand together in celebration of women.
Regarded by many in the sport as one of the greatest female tennis players of all time, the hall-of-fame tennis star’s accolades include 39 Grand Slam titles, including 12 singles, 16 women’s doubles, and 11 mixed doubles titles. King is an advocate for gender equality and has long been a pioneer for equality and social justice. King has also received the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Sunday Times Sportswoman of the Year lifetime achievement award.
Voted the greatest female athlete of all-time by Sports Illustrated for Women magazine, Jackie Joyner-Kersee holds three gold, one silver, and two bronze Olympic medals. After retiring as a competitive athlete, Joyner-Kersee has been involved with many philanthropic efforts. She is also one of the most famous athletes to have overcome severe asthma.
Two-time Olympic gold medalist and FIFA Women’s World Cup champion, Abby Wambach is a six-time winner of the U.S. Soccer Athlete of the Year award. She currently stands as the highest all-time goal scorer for the national team and holds the world record for international goals for both female and male soccer players with 184 goals. Wambach was awarded the 2012 FIFA World Player of the Year, becoming the first American woman to win the award in ten years. She was included on the 2015 Time 100 list as one of the most influential people in the world. In 2011, she became the first ever soccer player of either gender to be named Athlete of the Year by the Associated Press.
As the most successful woman in the history of American open-wheel racing, Patrick is a pioneer. In 2013, she became the first female NASCAR driver to win a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series pole, turning in the fastest qualifying lap since 1990. She has been named the Rookie of the Year as well as garnering multiple awards and accolades.
Note from Hummingbird Sports:
We were at a competition in Florida where we were approached by Taylor. When she saw that we were wearing helmets while playing she expressed relief that women’s lacrosse was trending to use better safety gear and volunteered the story below of her own head injury sustained while playing lacrosse. Her story, and attitude toward an active and safe lifestyle continues to be our inspiration. The photographs and story are posted here with her permission.
My name is Taylor Triolo. I was in a bad lacrosse accident on September 27th, 2015 that lead me to never be able to play again. When I was 16 years old I was playing in an off-season game. Everything was fine until the incident had occurred. From my memory of the incident I was playing on the field and then the next second I’m being strapped onto a gurney wearing a neck brace and waiting for a helicopter to pick me up. I woke up terrified because I didn’t know what was going on. From that point paramedics told me I got hit in the head to the point where I was unconscious for 15 minutes. I was so confused and out of it that I couldn’t understand what they were saying to me. As they were telling me what had happened they were pushing me to the ambulance to start an IV to have an entrance into my body in case I had a seizure so they could give me medicine right away. Once the IV was in they let my dad and mom in one at a time to see me. I didn’t understand why they were crying, all I knew was that I had a migraine and my neck had this strong pain. The helicopter finally came and transported me to the nearest hospital where I got CAT scans and was examined by multiple doctors. I remembered being rolled into that trauma room and seeing over 10 doctors waiting for me to arrive to start treating me. When I got my results luckily there was no bleeding or anything, it was just a really bad concussion and I was discharged that night.
I was only supposed to miss two days maximum of school. The doctor suggested that but those two days turned into three weeks of absences and leaving early from school on multiple days. During that time my coach checked up on me and told me how this happened. When I was going for the ground ball I got up and I hit the defenders hip, pushing my head backwards, and when I fell I hit the back of my head as well as the pushing my head forward. So not only did I get hit in the head from the front and back, I also had a whiplash effect to my neck giving me two small bulged discs. The whole incident occurred because girls’ lacrosse has no helmets. All we had was a foam headband that didn’t do anything to help because I wore it while it happened and I was still injured badly.
Now, over a year later, I still show symptoms of my concussion. Within that year I have been to three different neurologists, two physical therapists, one pain management individual (where I had to get eight injections in my neck and part of my scalp to get rid of pain), and two orthopedics. Besides the big hospital trip on the day of the accident, I have gone back to the hospital 3-5 times for pain. I had stop going to doctors because I heard the same thing every time I went. I heard there’s nothing we can do and we just have to watch, and no playing sports. What the doctors were saying about me was just so bad for me to hear that I didn’t want to go anymore because I don’t want to keep hearing that there’s nothing we can do. Meanwhile I’m in pain 24/7. I can’t remember one pain-free day I’ve had since the injury occurred. And it continues to this day.
Read the article from when I was picked up on the field from our local news.
In the picture of me in the green jersey that picture was taken a moment before I got a concussion just six months before the major one occurred and as you can see I’m wearing the headband. The picture on the right of that is me after the injury which is why the doctor doesn’t want me playing again because I had two concussions within six months.
Rob Stolker knew nothing about women’s lacrosse or the contentious conversation about headgear that has hovered over the sport since the 1980s. All he knew was what he saw: the youngest two of his four daughters playing a stick-and-ball sport without any equipment to protect them from a potential head injury.
“I let them finish the hour of that practice, but they have not been back on a lacrosse field since,” said Stolker, 46, of Holmdel, N.J. “I still think about why it was that I even let them finish out that hour.”
Entrepreneur Rob Stolker played a hand in many industries throughout his career. The 46-year-old Philadelphia native and Holmdel resident started as a financial trader in New York City and has since run businesses involving everything from real estate to solar panel installation. But the inspiration for his most recent venture came from his own home.
Stolker is an avid sports fan who has enthusiastically coached his four daughters, ages 17, 15, 13 and 11, in a range of sports, including soccer, basketball and volleyball. His current business came about after his two youngest daughters wanted to play lacrosse.
Addressing growing concerns about head injuries, two companies this month became the first to sell lacrosse headgear that is built specifically for girls and that complies with new standards from the sport’s governing body. But the availability of the equipment has only made the touchy debate over whether girls should wear it even more stark.