This week US Lacrosse released new rules for all women's leagues, many of which are designed to ensure better safety standards in players. US Lacrosse is the governing body that writes the rules for men's and women's lacrosse, which is followed by the National Federation for State High Schools Associations(NFHS) and collegiate club lacrosse (WCLA).
Among the many revisions listed below, an important ammendment is the change to pentalty card calls. As per the new rules, officials will be giving mandatory yellow cards to players who engage in dangerous contact.
Similar to other women's sports, in women's lacrosse, contact and stick checking is prohibited. The new pentalty rule aims to discourage players from engaging in potentially dangerous injuries. Unlike men's lacrosse, the girls dont have the correct gear (gloves, pads and helmets) to withstand that type of contact.
Aside from actual game play rules, additional safety changes have been made for mouthguards. White and clear mouthguards remain illegal and guards with graphics of teeth are now prohibited. This is to help officials make sure players are wearing a mouthguard.
These are the much needed efforts which help reduce the risk of injuries with potentially long term effects, like concussions and dental injuries. Maintaining and updating these safety standards play an important role in a players life even after sports. Enforcing these practices doesn't always come easy. It takes participation from everyone involved: players, coaches, parents, equipment manufactuers, officiators and governing bodies.
Rule 1, Section 9: Two small circles/dots shall be added to the field marking and placed five yards below the goal line in line with the 8-meter mark on goal line extended. These marks will designate the spot for the ball to be put in play when a foul occurs in the critical scoring area below the goal line.
Rule 2, Section 5: The ball may be lime green in addition to yellow or bright orange in color.
Rule 2, Section 8:Mouthpieces shall be any color other than clear or white and must not have graphics of white teeth. This adjustment makes it easier to determine if a player is properly wearing a mouthpiece.
Rule 2, Section 9: Eyewear used in 2016 may meet the ASTM standard of F803 or F3077. The new ASTM standard (F3077) shall be in effect on January 1, 2017.
Rule 2, Section 10: Effective January 1, 2017, the only optional headgear allowed for use must meet the new ASTM standard, F31317.
Rule 2, Section 14: Effective January 1, 2018, home team jerseys shall be light in color and visitor jerseys must be dark in color.
Rule 2, Section 16: Effective January 1, 2018, visible undergarments (long or short sleeve) must correspond to the team’s predominate jersey color, or be light in color with a light jersey and dark in color with a dark jersey.
Rule 2, Section 17: Eye black must be one solid stroke with no logos/numbers/letters and shall not extend further than the width of the eye socket or below the cheekbone.
Rule 3, Section 10: Beginning January 1, 2017, the game must be officiated by at least two certified officials. Three officials are recommended.
Rule 4, Section 7: Overtime play shall be sudden victory (first goal ends the game).
Rule 4, Section 7:In overtime, there shall be no substitutions during the changing of ends.
Rule 5, Section 1 and Rule 5, Section 19: The goalkeeper must remain below the restraining line on the draw.
Rule 5, Section 2 and Rule 5, Section 19: The goalkeeper may not draw, shoot or score for her own team.
Rule 5, Section 20: The throw shall be eliminated and replaced by a procedure of alternate possession. The winner of the coin toss shall have the option of choosing ends of the field or having the first possession that occurs.
Rule 5, Section 23: The penalty administration for an illegal player discovered after a goal and before play is restarted shall be at the center.
Rule 5, Section 28: Stick check requests must include the number of the player whose stick is to be checked.
Rule 6, Section 1: A new foul for dangerous contact has been added. Dangerous contact shall be any action that thrusts or shoves any player, with or without the ball, who is in a defenseless position. This includes blind side, head down, or from behind.
Rule 6, Section1j: The free position for a three seconds violation will be the spot of the ball.
Rule 7, Section 28: The delay of game progression has changed. The first violation remains the same. On the next delay of game, the official will show a green and yellow card to the offending player and award the appropriate penalty (major foul). The offending player must leave the field for two minutes of elapsed playing time. No substitute is allowed. Any subsequent delay of game calls will result in a yellow card for misconduct.
Rule 7, Section 31: On goalkeeper misconduct, if a second goalkeeper is dressed, she must enter the game. A field player may not substitute for the goalkeeper.
Rule 8, Definition of Terms: The Critical Scoring Area shall be defined by the 12-meter fan in front of the goal and the area behind the goal between the 12-meter marks at the goal line extended and extending to the end line.
Three rule changes were made specifically to the youth rules: 1) Three seconds shall not be in effect for U-9 and below as players in this area are required to be playing 1-on-1 defense. 2) Also for U-9 and below, possession of the ball after goals shall alternate and restart at the center. 3) For U-11 and below, games should feature 7-vs-7, including a goalkeeper if there is one, and should be played on a modified field.