Florida makes helmets mandatory for girls lacrosse players

The Florida High School Athletic Association's board of directors has voted to require helmets for girls lacrosse players starting with the 2015 season, a move that brought criticism from the sport's governing body. US Lacrosse, which had representatives at the association's meetings, called the mandate "short-sighted and vague."

National girls lacrosse rules do not require players to wear helmets and only state that soft headgear may be worn. The Florida athletic association did not specify what kind of helmet it would require. An online petition to repeal the measure had drawn more than 2,000 signatures as of Thursday evening.

In February 2013, a bill was introduced in the Maryland Legislature that would have required girls players under age 19 to wear protective headgear. After heavy criticism from the lacrosse community, including US Lacrosse, that portion of the bill was dropped.

US Lacrosse says it has been working for more than a year to develop a headgear standard for women's lacrosse. The organization has said adding helmets like those used by boys and men to the women's and girls games would encourage players to play more recklessly.

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