1,000 signatures reached
To: Rhode Island Governor, Rhode Island Interscholastic League, Rhode Island Department of Health, Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management
Declassification of boys lacrosse from high risk to moderate risk
On behalf of the nearly 56 high school teams, and 2,500 youth lacrosse US Lacrosse members in the state of Rhode Island and US Lacrosse, the sport’s national governing body, We are writing to you because we are very concerned that Rhode Island’s risk classification for boy’s lacrosse will prevent thousands of boys from returning to the lacrosse field this Spring. We are asking that boys lacrosse be declassified from high risk to moderate risk
Why is this important?
On behalf of the nearly 56 high school teams, and 2,500 youth lacrosse US Lacrosse members in the state of Rhode Island and US Lacrosse, the sport’s national governing body, we want to thank you for your leadership in directing the public health response for Rhode Island high school sports to COVID-19.
We are very concerned that Rhode Island’s high risk classification for boys’ lacrosse will prevent thousands of boys from returning to the lacrosse field this spring. The RI Department of Health has followed the NFHS’s recommendation regarding sport risk classification. This position is not aligned with US Lacrosse and the NCAA that men and women lacrosse are both classified as moderate risk sports, relative to COVID transmission.
While boys and girls lacrosse allow varying degrees of contact, US Lacrosse and the NCAA have concluded that these differences do not place men/boys at a greater risk of COVID-19 exposure than women/girls.
o Both are played outdoors
o The games are fast moving
o Players don’t handle the ball with their bare hands
o No shared equipment
o When in close proximity to one another, movement is constant & any contact short lived.
The NFHS’ sport risk classification has not provided any supporting data or rationale. RIIL’s decision to embrace this position will preventing thousands of boys playing lacrosse this Spring, in regions where other sports like soccer, baseball, hockey and football were able to return this Fall and Winter. Lacrosse has always provided an outlet for our children to have fun, maintain physical fitness and build critical life skills that help them balance the stresses and conflicts of life, and these days, more than ever – our children need lacrosse in their lives. US Lacrosse, like many other national organizations, have established guidance for safely returning to sports. The “Return to Play (RTP) Recommendations for Lacrosse” https://www.uslacrosse.org/return-to-play provide sport-specific guidance to mitigate infection risks. Parents, players and coaches are ready and willing to follow these recommendations and return to play.
The lacrosse community values the leadership provided by the RIIL to minimize the risk of COVID-19 infection and the recognition that as new health data emerges, you will adapt your approaches to how you lead our high school sports community through the pandemic. It is in that spirit of informed decision making, that the Rhode Island lacrosse community and US Lacrosse requests that the Rhode Island Interscholastic League share our request with the RI Department of Health and the NFHS, to modify its classification for boys’ lacrosse and move them to the moderate risk section. This adaptation acknowledges the sport-specific risk classifications made by US Lacrosse medical experts and creates consistency with how other states have classified lacrosse.