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Politicians need not worry about girls lacrosse head gear

With all of the problems that our state legislature faces, why in the world would they be concerned about protective head gear for girls lacrosse? Many, who probably have never been to a lacrosse game, equate girls lacrosse to boys lacrosse. They see the games on the tube and assume that the girls play that same rugged, punishing brand of lacrosse.

The sport may be called the same thing, but you only have to attend one game of both sexes to realize that the boys game is much more physical where body contact is allowed and demanded whereas the girls play a more graceful style where a stick to the body is not permitted. There is basically an invisible bubble that surrounds each player's head and defenders sticks are not allowed in that bubble. So why do girls need to wear protective head gear when playing in public schools or youth programs?

The bill to mandate helmets, HB 1123, was brought up by a couple of Baltimore County delegates — Dana Stein and Jon Cardin. Neither delegate thought the measure would pass. They just wanted to open a discussion, and they have.

US Lacrosse, headquartered in Baltimore, did not think much of the bill and was quick to respond negatively. I don't think much of it either.

As players get bigger, stronger and more skilled, the girls lacrosse rule makers have been focusing on keeping their sport safe. A girls lacrosse player's protective gear boils down to a mouth guard; goggles, which became mandatory in 2005; and trained officials who enforce the rules.

The US Lacrosse rules do allow girls to wear soft head gear. The Bullis School team in Potomac wears rugby scrum caps.

Is the purpose of the protective headgear to prevent concussions? The question should then be asked: Have the number of concussions sustained by girl lacrosse players been enough to warrant the helmets?

Natalie Gaieski, the Marriotts Ridge girls lacrosse coach and assistant girls soccer coach, told The Washington Post that she has seen one concussion in girls lacrosse but many concussions during girls soccer games.

I would be for the bill if it ensured safety of the players. I am not certain that it would be nothing but another expense.

It is time for our legislature to get on with the important business of the state of Maryland. This is not part of that business.

Scholarships available

I can't run announcements on every scholarship available to students in the county, but I want to name those which are available from two organizations.

First, Special Olympics Howard County will award three scholarships to outstanding student volunteers who have made contributions to the program. The Jackie Burk Memorial Award is a $1,500 award for a student volunteer. It was created in 2004 by Jack and Linda Burk in memory of their daughter.

The Allan Homes Award of $1,000 was established in 2005 by Allan and Kathy Waschak, and the Kathy Lindner Memorial Award of $500 is in memory of that program's first volunteer coordinator and was begun in 2012.

Contact the SOHC office at 410-740-0500 for more information.

The Amanda Post Wins River Hill High School Student-Athlete Scholarship and The Amanda Post Amanda Wins Soccer Association of Columbia/Howard County Student Athlete Scholarships focus on what Amanda Post was passionate about before she died when she was a freshman at River Hill. Those passions included excellence in academics and athletics. Please go to the Columbia Foundation website for more information.

Over the past three years, $50,000 has been awarded to 10 Howard County high school graduates.

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