As spring begins arriving in many parts of the country, lacrosse players of all ages are anxious to return to the field of play. But doing so safely remains utmost for all participants.

Dr. Richard Hinton, a member of the US Lacrosse Sports Science & Safety Committee and sports medicine medical director for MedStar Health, recently provided recommendations for parents, players, coaches, and administrators to help facilitate a safe return to spring lacrosse in light of the continuing COVID pandemic.

“Even if you have vaccines and testing in your area, we all still need to follow basic guidelines. That does not change for the foreseeable future” Hinton said. “Common sense public health (protocols) still apply.”

Hinton shared a number of additional insights in a new video produced as part of the US Lacrosse | MedStar Health & Performance Series. View his full comments below.

With many athletes returning to play this spring following a prolonged period of lacrosse inactivity, Hinton reminded coaches and leaders that a fazed in approach to full speed play is needed to help minimize the risk of injuries.

“Your training should go up gradually in frequency, intensity, and duration,” Hinton said. “The first 25 to 30 percent of the return to play should be based on physical literacy, with kids just getting back on the athletic field with other individuals and reacting to other individuals.”

He encourages coaches to carefully monitor their first few practices to determine if the volume of activity is appropriate. The initial priority should be on fitness, not competition. 

“Athletics can be a stressor. If you jump back into sports, your system is going to be stressed,” Hinton said. “It’s reasonable to do some health maintenance on your overall condition before you go back into sports.”