SLA 2020-2021 Operational Rules & Regulations
The Stafford Lacrosse Association (SLA) Operational Rules & Regulations is a supplement to the SLA Bylaws. It provides additional details on the operation of SLA and its programs. This operating manual is not intended to address all possible applications. SLA reserves the right to interpret and administer the policies and procedures set forth in this operating manual in its sole discretion for the betterment of the Association. Questions concerning the applicability of policies or procedures should be addressed to the Board of Directors.
- Mission - To provide the youth of Stafford County the opportunity to learn and play lacrosse at a level commensurate with each individual’s ability, while enjoying the benefits of being a part of a team.
- Purpose – To establish the rules and procedures that govern how SLA programs will be offered, managed and operated.
- SLA exists to provide the youth residing within the geographical boundaries of Stafford County, Quantico Marine Base and the City of Fredericksburg enjoyable activity and as a corollary to develop qualities that may help them in later life: sportsmanship, team play, and integrity.
- Any areas or issues not covered by these operating rules or league rules (in the case of NVYLL participation) will be addressed by the SLA Board of Directors (BoD).
- SLA is a community-based recreational lacrosse organization that currently offers programs for youth players of all skill levels. All registered players will be assigned to a team commensurate with their registration preference, age, and assessed skill level; there are no tryouts or cuts. SLA currently offers two divisions of recreational lacrosse play. First, the Local Recreational division that adheres to US Lacrosse Athlete Development Model (ADM) guidelines promoting increased participation for all players and a focus on age-appropriate fundamentals. Next, for those who opt to participate in more competitive league play, SLA is also a member of the Northern Virginia Youth Lacrosse League (NVYLL). While the NVYLL is considered competitive play, it is a recreational league that requires players to play with their local community team. NVYLL teams are also age-based, with multiple sub-divisions based on player skill.
- Each player on each team will have the opportunity to play in each game at which they are present. A goal is for each player to participate in a minimum of 50% of each game, subject to the size of the team which is dictated by registrations, in part.
- Registration will be opened at the discretion of the BoD. The BoD will also establish a late registration date where an additional fee may be levied.
- Beginning in the 2020-2021 lacrosse year, all players and coaches will be required to have a U.S. Lacrosse membership. Players will have a youth membership, while coaches will have an adult-coach membership. This is a new policy for SLA; the primary purpose of which is insurance coverage. Each member of U.S. Lacrosse (USL) is provided with individual supplemental insurance that can assist in coverage of a lacrosse-related accident or injury. By requiring and verifying all players and coaches as USL members, the large group liability and accident insurance policy possessed by USL extends its coverage to SLA as a covered organization. Players will be able to verify their USL membership during the SLA registration process, or be able to join prior to registering in an SLA program. Players will affiliate their USL account with SLA (Organization # 9552395). Coaches are also covered for liability through our Directors & Officers Liability (D&O) coverage as long as they are acting in accordance with these rules and at an SLA sanctioned event.
- SLA recommends that players receive a physical examination within three months of the start of the season. No player shall be allowed to participate in a SLA event if a physician recommends non-play. It is the responsibility of parents and coaches (during practice & games) to monitor the health of individual players on a continuing basis (see section 2.7 on concussion management).
- There will be no use of tobacco or alcohol products at any SLA practice or game site by anyone to include team building tailgate like parties. Playing fields are drug and alcohol-free zones.
- SLA has established a concussion awareness program that must be followed by all participants. The elements of the program are provided below. The program information is found in Appendix 2 and will be published on the SLA website.
- Each coach will attend or review the SLA Concussion Prevention Policy brief prior to the start of each season.
- Each coach must complete the Heads Up: Concussion in Youth Sports on-line training course available on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) prior to the start of each season.
- Distribute a Heads-Up Parent Fact Sheet to the parents of players prior to the start of each season. This can be distributed electronically or in hard copy. http://www,cdc.gov/concussion/HeadsUp/youth.html, and is available on the SLA website under "Concussion Info"
- Coaches and Parents will sign the Concussion awareness form (see Appendix 2).
- All players, parents and coaches must read, understand, and sign the "CODE OF CONDUCT" form (see Appendix 1). The SLA Code of Conduct is closely aligned to code of conduct enforced by USL as well as that of the NVYLL. NVYLL-aligned coaches may have to sign a additional league form acknowledging the Code of Conduct.
- As part of the program registration process, all players and parents will review, understand and sign a liability waiver.
- In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, and as part of the program registration process, all players and parents will review, understand and sign an infectious disease waiver, acknowledging that playing lacrosse brings with it some risk of infection due to close contact with other individuals.
- As noted in the SLA By-Laws, the BoD will strive to set fees as low as possible to ensure availability to play for as many families as possible. The fee shall be set to cover the costs of operation and fielding of teams and for BoD approved projects.
- A registration fee must be paid at the time of registration with a credit card on the SLA website registration page. An additional fee may be assessed if a player opts to participate in the NVYLL division program. All registration fees must be paid prior to participation in any on-field event. A member with an outstanding fee will not be allowed to participate in club events until the fee balance is settled, or arrangements made. This is an insurance liability issue as SLA pays an insurance fee for each player.
- Administrative Fee – a member who cancels a registration after assessments begin for a spring program may be assessed an Administration Fee as set by the BoD.
- Families registering two or more participants in any combination of programs will receive a discount for the second and subsequent players as set by the BoD.
- Refunds may be granted in accordance with the following schedule:
LOCAL RECREATION PLAYERS
|Before Assessments Start
Before Local Rec Kick-Off
|After Assessments Start
Registration Fee – Admin Fee
|After Team Practices Start
After practices start
50% of Registration Fee
|Within 2 weeks of team's 1st game
Within 2 weeks of 1st game
25% of Registration Fee
After 1st Game
|After 1st game
Requests for a refund/account credit because of an injury occurring before the first game of the season should be sent to the Program Commissioner and must be accompanied by an injury report or a doctor’s note.
- For Local Recreation division teams, player assessments will assist the coaches and age group coordinators in assigning players to ensure teams are evenly matched.
- For NVYLL division teams, player assessments will determine player team assignments, as well as the level of play in which each team will be declared to the NVYLL Executive Council. Players/parents must choose to play in this division during the registration process. No player will be forced to play on an NVYLL team. In the case of low Local Recreation division registration numbers at an age group, the NVYLL Division may be the only program that SLA is able to offer at that age group and will be made available to all players.
- Previously unregistered new players may be added to rosters up to the second game of the season in accordance with league policy. In the case of low Local Recreation division registration numbers at an age group, the NVYLL Division may be the only program that SLA is able to offer at that age group and will be made available to all players.
- Any individual volunteering to coach with SLA must follow a set of prescribed trainings as required by SLA and other entities with which SLA conducts business. All volunteers to coach must register as a coach on the SLA website in the appropriate registration program, and sign the Coaches Code of Conduct (Appendix #1). Coaches must also be a member of US Lacrosse (adult-coach) and affiliate their membership with SLA (Organization #9552395). Additional steps are detailed in the following paragraphs of this section, and include having undergone and passed a criminal background check, completed SafeSport abuse prevention training, completed the concussion awareness program a described in Section 2.7, and taken the U.S. Lacrosse Level One (Fundamentals of Coaching) online course.
- All coaches (or any on-field adult that has contact with youth players) must complete and pass (“Green Light’) a criminal background check in the first year and every two years thereafter. SLA uses the National Center for Safety Initiatives (NCSI), in conjunction with US Lacrosse. NCSI conducts an annual re-check in ‘off-years’. Coaches will conduct their background check through their USL membership account. SLA will verify completion and passing of the background check through USL.
- All coaches (or any on-field adult that has contact with youth players) must complete training in the recognition and prevention of abuse and misconduct. This training shall be conducted through the U.S. Center for SafeSport in conjunction with the coach’s USL membership. Initial SafeSport training is required in a coach’s first season with SLA.
- Coaches must also annually complete the CDC Heads Up: Concussion in Youth Sports online training course as indicated in paragraph 1.2.7. This course is free and available to the public. A certificate of completion must be provided to SLA’s program commissioner upon completion.
- All coaches must complete the US Lacrosse Coaches Education Program – Level One Course (either online or at a certified clinic) to qualify them in the rules of the game, coaching fundamental techniques, player safety, care of injuries, and leadership of children and young people. This course is only required once, it never expires. A certificate of completion must be provided to SLA’s program commissioner upon completion.
- Coaches that complete and/or maintain their coaching requirements and remain in good standing with SLA for the entire spring season are eligible to have some or all of their USL membership fee reimbursed by SLA, depending on other coaching affiliations a coach may maintain.
- It is a goal of SLA to have all coaches complete a US Lacrosse Coach Certification (for more information on certification see http://www.uslacrosse.org/cep/certification.phtml.). In order to attain that goal, SLA will work with both the NVYLL and the Potomac & Richmond Chapters of US Lacrosse to provide the following assistance to coaches interested in achieving US Lacrosse Certification:
- Pay for or reimburse coaches for taking the US Lacrosse online training course (Level One is free);
- Pay for or reimburse coaches for taking the US Lacrosse coaches certification instructional field clinics;
- Provide opportunities for coaches to attend Positive Coaches Alliance clinic; and
- Reimburse coaches for the fees associated with applying for initial US Lacrosse certification (does not include re-certification).
- Coaching materials such as books or DVDs are not eligible for reimbursement under this article.
- No Head Coach, Assistant Coach, or any other Association official shall recruit or otherwise solicit players from another lacrosse club.
- The Local Recreation division is open to all interested players. Participation in the NVYLL division is bound by both SLA and NVYLL rules. SLA will abide by NVYLL rules for player assignment, and address individual waiver requests on a case by case basis.
- All players must participate in the appropriate age bracket based on their a) birth month/year (boys); b) grade (girls). No waiver requests to ‘play up’ in an older age group will be granted on skill or ability; in unique cases of age/grade combination a waiver to ‘play up’ in an older age group may be considered. No player will be allowed to play down an age group under any circumstances.
- Practices shall be conducted only at facilities scheduled by SLA for SLA events. No team is to practice at private facilities, parking lots or other public areas not listed on the SLA Master Schedule. Practices that take place at facilities not approved by SLA are not covered by SLA’s insurance and therefore not authorized.
- Practices shall not exceed one two-hour period per day excluding team travel time. No more than four team events (practices and games) per week for each NVYLL team; no more than three events (practices and games) per week for each Local Recreation team/age group.
- Each team must have its own First Aid Kit at all practices and games.
- Games will be scheduled, officiated, postponed and canceled within the rules of the league within which SLA is affiliated.
- All SLA games will be overseen by a Field Commissioner. The Field Commissioner shall be responsible for: (1) enforcing the rules regulations and Bylaws; (2) maintaining orderly conduct of all participants, coaches and fans; and (3) provide a report to the appropriate Boys or Girls Program Commissioner in the event of any severe misconduct or incident which results in ejection.
- A SLA team shall not change its roster for any league game.
- A maximum of four coaches will be permitted in the designated coaching area. A coach is defined as an individual who has registered with SLA to coach lacrosse and has completed the required training program, as listed in Section 1.5. Only players and coaches are permitted in the coaching and team area. NVYLL coaches must also be registered with the league by signing the NVYLL Coaches Code of Conduct (CCOC).
- Coaches must be easily recognizable by wearing appropriate, SLA-branded coaching shirt (provided) identifying them with the organization and/or team. Additional SLA-branded items, such as a cap, sweatshirt, or jacket, are authorized (available, but not provided).
- Program Commissioners, Field Commissioners and Timers are permitted in the table area and are NOT permitted to coach, root, cheer, etc., for either team. Parents and family members are not allowed on the same side of the field as the player bench area.
- SLA will follow the US Lacrosse Athlete Development Model (LADM) Guidelines for games in the Local Recreation division, as modified by the appropriate program commissioner to meet the needs of the program. NVYLL games will follow U.S. Lacrosse or National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Rules as amended by the NVYLL rules committee, and codified in the NVYLL Operating Rules.
- If at any time the BoD finds the conduct of any player or member of the coaching staff to be detrimental and contrary to the best interest of his program or in violation of the signed code of conduct, such individual may be suspended by the BoD by a majority vote, from further participation for whatever period of time may be deemed reasonable and proper.
- Each commissioner should investigate any detrimental conduct by any player or member of the coaching staff of his/her local club.
- All investigations of detrimental conduct, and penalties imposed shall be reported in writing within 48 hours of the incident.
- Any member of the coaching staff who is involved in a fight before or after any game or is ejected from a game for fighting will be suspended form further SLA participation.
- SLA understands the importance of protecting our players. As an organizational member of U.S. Lacrosse, SLA agrees with and conforms to the U.S Lacrosse Youth Safety and Protection Policy (as revised on /10/2019, and available here: https://www.uslacrosse.org/sites/default/files/public/documents/safety/standard-for-athlete-safety-2019.pdf). This material will also be available on the SLA website.
- If at any time the BoD finds the conduct of any player or member of the coaching staff to be detrimental and contrary to the best interest of the program or in violation of the signed Code of Conduct, such individual may be suspended by the BoD by a majority vote, from further participation for whatever period of time may be deemed reasonable and proper
- All injuries, disciplinary incidents, (red or yellow cards, parent/spectator sent off the field, lack of roster during roster check etc.), referee discrepancies, field discrepancies, or other unusual occurrences should be reported as soon as possible to SLA, and the appropriate League (if applicable).
- All incidents shall be reported to SLA in writing (email preferred) using the reporting procedures outlined in this section. Incidents, for the purposes of the SLA Operating Rules, shall be considered as: injuries requiring medical attention; violations of the SLA Code of Conduct; or any other matter concerning player, coach, volunteer or Board Member safety, including allegations of abuse or misconduct.
- Coaches are expected to provide a report of an incident requiring notification to the appropriate Program Commissioner within 24 hours of the incident and/or prior to the next team event (game or practice). Players and/or parents/guardians shall seek to inform the next available SLA coach or Director regarding incidents involving or allegations against the player’s coach. In a situation where a parent, guardian or player has made the SLA Board’s Member-at-Large or the Program Commissioner directly aware of an incident or concern, including those involving the player’s coach, the SLA Board will investigate, as required and outlined by the SLA Code of Conduct.
- The SLA Board, primarily through the input of the Program Commissioners and the Member-at-Large, will maintain a centralized incident log in the Board’s records. The SLA President will maintain oversight of the log and ensure that all incidents are reviewed at the next scheduled Board meeting. Special Board meetings can be called by the President to address incidents requiring Board action as needed.
12. FINANCIAL AID
- SLA will attempt to provide assistance to families that request financial aid in the form of reduced or waived registration fees or by offsetting the cost of equipment.
- Financial Aid applications will be reviewed by the appropriate Program Commissioner
- Aid can be granted in terms of a reduction of registration fees, a payment plan and/or assistance with equipment. Program Commissioners shall determine to what level each request can be met, consulting the BoD as needed to understand budget implications.
- Prior to the opening of registration for a given season, the BoD shall determine the total amount of financial aid equivalent that is available and shall budget appropriately.
- Player Equipment - Players are to conform to NFHS and US Lacrosse Youth Rules equipment requirements including NOCSAE- approved helmets and chest protectors (goalies, starting in 2021), but for SLA there are no restrictions on color, markings, or decals, nor are players required to field matching equipment.
- Sportsmanship and Conduct - Sportsmanship is paramount during all SLA play. The SLA Code of Conduct shall be adhered to and enforced fully by the game officials and Field Commissioner. Game and field conduct is the responsibility of the Home team, Game officials and Field Commissioner.
- Non-Discrimination – SLA is committed to an environment in which all individuals are treated with respect and dignity. Each individual has the right to enjoy the programs and services provided by SLA in an atmosphere free of bias, prejudice and harassment. SLA does not tolerate acts of discrimination based upon race, color, national origin, gender, pregnancy, religion, disability, age, veteran status, or any other factor protected by applicable law.This anti-discrimination policy applies to all aspects of the programs and services provided by SLA. All persons are encouraged to promptly report any incident of discrimination and/or harassment to the appropriate Commissioner or any member of the Board of Directors. SLA will promptly, thoroughly, and impartially investigate all complaints of discrimination and/or harassment. SLA will keep all discrimination and/or harassment complaints confidential to the extent possible and consistent with adequate investigation and appropriate corrective action. If it is determined that prohibited discrimination or harassment occurred, SLA will take appropriate action, including disciplinary action against an employee, volunteer, or member, calculated to see that the discrimination or harassment ends.
APPENDIX #1 -- SLA CODE OF CONDUCT
- Policy Statement
The Stafford Lacrosse Association is committed to the exhibition of sportsmanship and ethical behaviors in and around all athletic contests played under its sanction. All contests must be safe, fair, controlled and orderly for all athletes, officials, and fans alike.
It is the intent of the SLA that unsportsmanlike behavior and violence in any form is not to be tolerated in athletic contests or practices under the jurisdiction of the SLA. In order to enforce this policy, the SLA has implemented regulations in cooperation with appropriate coaches and club commissioners, who set forth the manner of implementation and enforcement of this policy, and the penalties incurred when violations of this policy occur. The rules and regulations shall focus upon the responsibility of coaches, players and parents to demand high standards of conduct and to enforce personally the rules and regulations set forth by the SLA.
The SLA requires that the following code of conduct be issued to and signed by each head coach, assistant coach, player and parent, each season, as a guide to govern his or her behavior. The penalty for failing to sign a copy of this policy will be to restrict the coach, player or parent from participating in SLA program activities.
- Code of Conduct
Coaches, players, parents, officials and spectators are to conduct themselves in a manner that “Honors the Game” and demonstrates respect to other players, coaches, officials, parents and fans. In becoming a member of the lacrosse community, an individual assumes certain obligations and responsibilities to the game of lacrosse and its participants. The essential elements in this “Code of Conduct” are HONESTY and INTEGRITY. Those who conduct themselves in a manner that reflects these elements will bring credit to the sport of lacrosse, themselves, their team and their organization. It is only through such conduct that our sport can continue to earn and maintain a positive image and make its full contribution to amateur sports in the United States and around the world. The SLA supports the following behaviors for those who participate in the sport or are involved in any way with the SLA. The following essential elements of the “Code of Conduct” must be followed:
- Sportsmanship and teaching the concepts of fair play are essential to the game and must be taught at all levels and developed both at home and on the field during practices and games.
- The value of good sportsmanship, concepts of fair play, and the skills of the game should always be placed above winning.
- The safety and welfare of the players are of primary importance.
- Coaches must always be aware of the tremendous influence they have on their players. They are to strive to be positive role models in dealing with young people, as well as adults.
- Coaches should always demonstrate positive behaviors and reinforce them to players, parents, officials and spectators alike. Players should be specifically encouraged and positively reinforced by coaches to demonstrate respect for teammates, opponents, officials and spectators.
- Players should always demonstrate positive behavior and respect toward coaches, officials, opponents, teammates, parents and spectators.
- Coaches, players, parents and spectators are expected to demonstrate the utmost respect for officials and reinforce that respect to players/teammates. Coaches are also expected to educate their players as to the important role of lacrosse officials and reinforce the ideal of respect for the official to players/teammates/parents.
- Grievances or misunderstandings between coaches, officials or any other parties involved with the sport should be communicated through the proper channels and procedures, never on or about the field of play in view of spectators or participants.
- Officials are professionals and are therefore expected to conduct themselves as such and in a manner that demonstrates total impartiality, courtesy and fairness to all parties.
- Spectators involved with the game must never permit anyone to openly or maliciously criticize badger, harass or threaten an official, coach, player or opponent.
- Coaches must be able to demonstrate a solid knowledge of the rules of lacrosse, and should adhere to the rules in both the letter and the spirit of the game.
- Coaches should provide a basic knowledge of the rules to players, parents and spectators within his/her program. Attempts to manipulate rules in an effort to take unfair advantage of an opponent, or to teach deliberate unsportsmanlike conduct, is considered unacceptable conduct.
- Eligibility requirements, at all levels of the game, must be followed. Rules and requirements such as age, previous level of participation, team transfers, etc., have been established to encourage and maximize participation, fair play and to promote safety.
I have read and understood the Policy Statement and Code of Conduct, and the violations and penalties of the "Code of Conduct Policy". I have also read and understood the rules and regulations of the SLA, specifically Section 1.7 "Conduct" and Section 1.10 "Penalties".
I agree to abide by the policy while participating in SLA athletics regardless of contest site or jurisdiction.
Player Name: Telephone:
Player Signature: _Date:
Parent Name: Telephone:
Parent Signature:_ Date:
Youth Program: Email:
APPENDIX #2 – CONCUSSION AWARENESS PROGRAM
- Purpose. SLA’s primary goal is player safety. SLA recognizes and is dedicated to educating its members about the serious risks posed to athletes from traumatic brain injuries such as concussions. In order to promote player safety and recognition of concussion symptoms, SLA has adopted the following Concussion Policy.
- Basic Concussion Information.
a. What is a Concussion? Concussion, a type of traumatic brain injury, is caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head. Concussions can also occur from a blow to the body that causes the head and brain to move quickly back and forth—causing the brain to bounce around or twist within the skull. This sudden movement of the brain can cause stretching and tearing of brain cells, damaging the cells and creating chemical changes in the brain.
b. Concussion Prevention. To minimize risk of concussions:
i. Players must follow the laws of the games and all rules for safety.
ii. Boys must use NOCSAE certified helmets, though no such equipment exists which is “concussion-proof”.
c. Symptoms of Concussions:
i. Parents or coaches may observe the following common symptoms associated with concussions:
• Appears to be dazed or stunned
• Is confused about assignment
• Forgets plays
• Is unsure of game, score, or opponent
• Moves clumsily
• Answers questions slowly
• Loses consciousness (even temporarily)
• Shows behavior or personality change
• Forgets events prior to hit (retrograde amnesia)
• Forgets events after hit (anterograde amnesia)
ii. Players may report the following symptoms:
• Headache • Nausea
• Balance problems or dizziness
• Double or fuzzy vision
• Sensitivity to light or noise
• Feeling sluggish
• Feeling "foggy"
• Change in sleep pattern
• Concentration or memory problems
iii. Severe Concussion Danger Signs
• One pupil larger than the other
• Is drowsy or cannot be awakened
• A headache that gets worse
• Weakness, numbness, or decreased coordination
• Repeated vomiting or nausea
• Slurred speech
• Convulsions or seizures
• Cannot recognize people or places
• Becomes increasingly confused, restless, or agitated
• Has unusual behavior
• Loses consciousness (even a brief loss of consciousness should be taken seriously)
d. Diagnosis and Treatment - Upon occurrence of a suspected concussion, the player should be removed from play and precluded from further participation in the current game. Any player suspected of suffering a concussion should be evaluated by a qualified medical professional within 72 hours of the concussion and follow the professional advice given by the attending doctor or physician. If diagnosed with a concussion, players should follow the Return to Play Guidelines set forth below.
III. Coaching Education and Certification of Concussion Awareness.
- Before the spring season all coaches will participate in the SLA Concussion Awareness brief
- At least once annually, all coaches shall participate in concussion awareness certification. SLA currently requires all coaches participate in the CDC’s “Head’s Up” online training and certification program, available at www.cdc.gov/concussion.
- Coaches shall be required to submit a certification of successful completion of the concussion awareness program to their respective Commissioner.
- If a coach suspects an athlete has suffered a concussion, the coach shall remove the player from play and notify the player’s parents as soon as possible following the game. The coach shall not allow the player to participate further until adequate authorization has been provided by a qualified medical professional.
IV. Parent and Athlete Awareness.
a. Players are encouraged to obtain baseline concussion testing at least every other year from junior high through high school.
b. At least once per year, parents and players shall acknowledge receipt and understanding of current concussion related materials to be provided by the club as part of the registration process. These materials shall also be available online via the club’s website and in the office. Players who have not returned completed acknowledgments will not be allowed to participate in league activities.
V. Return to Play Guidelines
a. Prior to returning to play, players having suffered a concussion must present clearance from a qualified medical professional.
b. Following diagnosis of a concussion, players should complete the following recovery program. Each step must be successfully completed at least one full day prior to advancing to the subsequent step.
i. Step 1. No activity. Physical and mental exercise should be limited to promote recovery.
ii. Step 2. Light aerobic exercise. Heart rate may be elevated with non-contact, low- to moderate-intensity running, walking, biking, or weight lifting.
iii. Step 3. Sport-specific exercise. Player may engage in sport specific, non-contact play including high intensity sprinting or biking, regular weight lifting routine and other non-contact activities.
iv. Step 4. Return to Practice. Player may participate in full contact, controlled practice setting.
v. Step 5. Return to Play. Player may engage in full competition.
Players and parents should read the club’s current Concussion Policy and Fact Sheets which can be found on the SLA website. After reading these fact sheets, parents and players must sign to acknowledge receipt of this concussion information and understanding of the risks of concussions associated with the sport and return the sheet to the head coach.
APPENDIX #3 -- HEAT GUIDELINES
Heat-Related Injuries ~ Prevention and Treatment
One of the biggest concerns for summer lacrosse players is preventing heat injuries. Heat related injuries, such as heat exhaustion or heat stroke are emergency conditions that need immediate treatment and medical care. However, such incidents can be prevented with a few simple steps, which are described in this article to keep coaches, players and officials in the game.
What are Heat-related Injuries?
Normally, bodies produce a tremendous amount of internal heat, which is cooled by sweating and expelling heat through the skin. When there is extreme heat, high humidity or vigorous activity in the hot sun, this cooling system may begin to fail, and allow heat to build up to dangerous levels. Heat injuries manifest themselves in a number of forms, from mild symptoms to life-threatening conditions.
Heat Cramps: Heat cramps are muscle contractions, usually occurring in the calf or hamstring muscles. These contractions are forceful and painful. They are typically related to heat, dehydration, and poor conditioning. Treatment for cramps is simple: rest; drink water; and, a cool environment.
Heat Exhaustion: Heat exhaustion stems from excessive heat and dehydration. Its symptoms can be detected in the appearance and activities of players during practice or a game. The range of symptoms includes nausea, dizziness, weakness, headache, heavy perspiration, normal or low body temperature, weak pulse, dilated pupils, disorientation, and fainting spells. Treat heat exhaustion by getting the person to a cool or shady environment, drinking liquids and applying cool water or ice to the body. Most people respond to these treatments, but prompt attention is necessary in order to prevent the condition from progressing to heat stroke. More severely heat- exhausted patients may need IV fluids, especially if vomiting keeps them from drinking enough.
Heat Stroke: Heat stroke, the most serious form of all heat-related conditions, is a life-threatening medical emergency. A person with heat stroke usually has a very high temperature (over 104 degrees) and along with the other symptoms above, may be delirious, unconscious or having seizures. These patients need to reduce their temperature quickly and must also be given IV fluids for re-hydration. Take them to a hospital as quickly as possible – although cooling treatments need to be started immediately and continue until emergency medical personnel can take over. In addition to applying ice, another effective form of cooling in this case is “evaporative cooling” where the person is sponged or misted with cool water, and fans are used to circulate the air around the person to encourage rapid evaporation.
Lacrosse Players Are Vulnerable
Because lacrosse is a warm-weather running sport, lacrosse participants are at risk for heat illnesses. Coaches can take a number of steps to prevent heat-related injuries among their players:
- Recognize the dangers of playing in the heat.
- Schedule regular fluid breaks during practice and games. Players should be hydrated prior to the start of games or practices and to continue to drink eight ounces of fluid every 20 minutes during the activity with water or sports drinks.
- Players should avoid soda, caffeine drinks and alcohol before or during games, as these can promote dehydration.
- Make player substitutions more frequently in the heat.
- Have players wear light-colored, “breathable” clothing.
- For boys & men, take “helmet breaks” every 30 minutes to ensure that heat in the helmets gets released. Just as your mother told you to wear a hat in winter so “90% of the heat would not be lost through the top of your head,” the converse is true in summer – wearing a helmet keeps in a great deal of heat that the body is trying to expel.
- Use misting water sprays to keep players cool.
- In the early part of the season, particularly in warm, humid climates, acclimate players slowly to the heat. Play at cooler times of day, and build up players’ tolerance to heat a little more each day. If you are attending a camp or tournament in a climate that is hotter than you are used to, go early (if possible) to help the team adapt and be vigilant about enforcing preventative measures.
- And always, respond quickly if heat-related injuries occur.
Environmental Factors: Ambient air temperature and humidity have a direct effect on the ability for a body to cool itself through the evaporation of sweat. When the air temperature is above 90, and/or the relative humidity is high, the body is at a higher risk to not effectively stay cool, which may be compounded by the level of dehydration of the body’s fluids.
The following chart is a simple method to determine the amount of increased risk with variations of heat and humidity, and subsequent suggestions to modify participation in physical activities.
The chart below can be used by inputting the temperature and humidity available via local radio stations, Internet locations, or local field measurements. Simply cross-reference the relative humidity with the temperature to determine the apparent temperature. SLA member clubs practice in the evening and the ambient conditions progressively improve as we move into the evening, however, reasonable cautions need to be implemented as the conditions warrant. At a minimum, commissioners should implement the following guidelines as outlined below when a particular field condition exists.
APPARENT TEMPERATURE CHART
APPARENT TEMPERATURE -- SLA RECOMMENDATIONS
105º and up: Recommend no outside activities. At a minimum, individual clubs must implement heat injury risk mitigation measures.
95º to 104º: Recommend no equipment except helmets be used during practice. For games, additional non-chargeable time-outs should be called by the officials to allow for additional hydration opportunities. Shade should be made available for players if possible.
90º to 94º: Recommend equipment (helmet at a minimum) be removed as often as possible (during rest breaks, on sideline, etc.). Careful monitor all athletes for signs of heat problems.
Below 89º: Recommend adequate water supply at all practices and games with breaks every 20 to 30 minutes for re-hydration.
EXCESSIVE HEAT DURING GAMES
Water breaks of no greater than 1:30 minutes in length will be incorporated into each game if, in the opinion of attending medical personnel, referees and/or the Field Commissioner, they become necessary. In women’s play, those breaks will be taken as close to the mid-point of each half as possible after a goal or during a dead ball situation. In men’s play, those breaks will be taken as close to the mid-point of each quarter as possible after a goal or during a dead ball situation.
National Athletic Trainers Association’s Recommendations on Fluid Replacement:
- Educate athletes on the effects of dehydration on physical performance.
- Inform athletes on how to monitor hydration status.
- Convince athletes to participate in their own hydration protocols based on sweat rate, drinking preferences, and personal responses to different fluid quantities.
- Encourage coaches to mandate re-hydration during practices and competitions, just as they require other drills and conditioning activities.
- Have a scale accessible to assist athletes in monitoring weight before, during, and after activity.
- Provide the optimal oral re-hydration solution (water, CHOs, electrolytes) before, during, and after exercise.
- Implement the hydration protocol during all practices and games, and adapt it as needed.
- Finally, encourage event scheduling and rule modifications to minimize the risks associated with exercise in the heat.
Journal of Athletic Training Vol. 35 N2, June 2000 Full text can be found on NATA’s website: www.nata.org
Acclimatization to Heat:
Another way to help prevent heat stress is to become acclimatized to the weather. Acclimatization means becoming adapted to the weather or climate. The process takes 7 to 12 days. Studies have shown adolescents take longer to acclimatize to heat than adults. As a result of acclimatization, the sweating mechanism of a person is enhanced:
- onset of perspiration occurs earlier
- perspiration increases
- increase in blood volume with the more training an individual does
- improves supply of oxygen to the muscles
- heart rate decreases
- core body temperature does not rise as high during exercise
Other facts about heat illnesses and exercising in the heat:
- Dehydration of 1% to 2% of body weight begins to impact athletic performance
- Dehydration greater than 3% of body weight may increase an athlete’s risk of heat illness.
- Sports drinks should contain less than 8% carbohydrate. Carbohydrate content greater than 8% compromises the rate of gastric emptying and should be avoided.
- Wear light weight and light-colored clothing
- Avoid wearing articles that prevent water absorption
- Early morning commonly produces a humid environment and lower temperatures. Usually, as the sun rises, the temperature will increase and the humidity decreases. As the evening hours’ approach, the temperature decreases and the humidity will rise. Often, the most critical times to monitor athlete’s ability to exercise in hot weather occurs when the temperature rises quickly during the early morning prior to the sun burning off the humidity, or during storms when the humidity remains high due to cloud cover, etc.
- A mild breeze can reduce the humidity on a particular field, as well as improve the evaporative process.
- Field watering after practice sessions are complete can help reduce the ambient humidity on or near an athletic field, thus reducing the heat stress on athletes.
EXTREME HOT AND HUMID WEATHER TIPS for ADJUSTING PRACTICES
Insist that adequate
water be ingested Insist that adequate water be ingested
Insist that 4 – 6 oz
minimum water be ingested every 20 minutes
Never restrict water
Provide minimum of
- water breaks per
Provide minimum of
- water breaks per hour
2 hours, every 45 minutes of work,
15 minutes of rest each hour
Remove helmets unless
active in drill
Insist that 8 – 10 oz water be ingested every
Remove helmet unless active in drill
2 hours, every 45
minutes of work,
15 minutes of rest each hour
equipment removed for non-contact drills
Insist that 8 – 10 oz
water be ingested every
Removal of helmet
unless active in drill, removal of pads (i.e.: shoulder pads)
when teaching or non-contact portions of practice exceed
Fluid replacement should be at a rate of 24 oz for every pound of body weight lost after exercise.
- < > colored, loose clothing is suggested during activity in hot weather.
Adequatefluidsupplybereadilyavailable timesactivityin hot
- < > poorly acclimatized or poorly conditioned are at increased risk for heat related illness/injury and should be monitored closely or placed on a modified participation schedule.
Athletesapre-existingdehydratedstateorgastro-intestinalorpre-existing areatahigherforillness/injuryshouldmonitoredcloselyoron amodified
Medications including antihistamines,beta-blockersincreasethe
- < > ergogenic, and dietary supplements such as Creatine may cause an increase in dehydration and heat related illness and/or injury.
Providingshadethesidelinesis ato alloweffectivelycooloffthefield.
- < > may allow extra support personnel to be present on the sidelines in order to better hydrate players and monitor their physical condition.
Since SLA uses Stafford County facilities the Association adheres to the Stafford County Inclement Weather Policy STAFFORD COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF PARKS, RECREATION AND COMMUNITY FACILITIES INCLEMENT WEATHER, THUNDER AND LIGHTNING GUIDELINES.
When inclement weather is forecast all staff on duty at any park or county facility should be observant of weather conditions. When severe weather that includes thunder or lightning is expected these general guidelines will be followed.
● Upon hearing thunder or seeing lightning the officials (umpires and referees) shall suspend the game and clear the field (coaches for a practice event.
● Officials/coaches shall direct participants and spectators to go to their vehicles or some other enclosed substantial structure. (Dugouts and picnic shelters are not suitable, safe structures during a lightning storm.)
● Persons will not be permitted to reenter the facilities until 30 minutes after the last time thunder was heard or lightning was seen.
● If staff is on site and inclement weather is likely, before games start staff shall confirm with the officials the department policy on thunder and lightning.