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Ashley Austin

Mr. Phillips

English 3

8 March 2017

From centuries old stick game, to worldwide popularity:

Lacrosse takes hold in Germany

Lets take a journey back 400 years: America was just a foothold really, Jamestown had

barely begun, and Pocahontas was kidnapped by Englishmen. Meanwhile, the Native Americans

were already influencing modern-day culture, playing a game known to them as stick ball.

(Telter). Today, that game is lacrosse, and it has morphed into one of the most popular and

rapidly-growing sports not just in the United States, but all over the world. Germany is no

exception. At first the sport wasn't highly recognized but now it is expanding. Move over

German football (what Americans call soccer). Theres a new sport taking hold in Germany:

lacrosse (Straus).

Lacrosse in Germany isnt nearly as old as lacrosse in the United States. While U.S.

lacrosse has roots dating back to the 1630s and the Native Americans, lacrosse in Germany is

much newer, discovered in modern day times -- 1992. That year, Germans Jrn Pelzer and Jrg

Rohaus visited America, discovered the sport lacrosse, and decided to start a lacrosse club called

Berliner Lacrosse Verein e.V. BLAX (Edwin). Fastforward to today, and lacrosse in Germany is

developing into something so big that according to Sara Edwin from Lacrosse All Stars,

Germany for the first time will take part in the Lacrosse World Games in Denver. Its an event

that includes 40 countries worldwide. In addition, the growth rate of the sport in Germany is

staggering. While at first the sport wasn't highly recognized, today its expanding with an
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average of 33.5% growth rate per year globally, and an average of 3.2% growth rate in Germany.

As of 2013, the total number of lacrosse players was 746,859, but that number has gotten

drastically larger since 2013 (Edwin).

With growth, comes challenges. And thats no different for German lacrosse. The

growing sport in Germany is causing a shortage of talented coaches who are capable of coaching

young athletes to success. The sport is expanding faster than the coaching staff, which is causing

lacrosse athletes to not play to their full potential because of lack of talented coaches. As stated

by Sara Edwin from Lacrosse All Stars, Not unlike the new pockets of talent in the US, youth

lacrosse in germany is outgrowing the number of quality coaches and officials who can provide

the framework for the game. The solution to this issue is to recruit parents of teens who are

involved in this sport to help out with coaching.

Today, German lacrosse is comprised of four lacrosse leagues: Northern, Southern,

Western, and Eastern. In each league there is a significant number of experienced players

wanting to learn more, and inexperienced players eager to learn the rules of the game. With

clinics to help provide more knowledge about the game, players tend to pick up the rules of

lacrosse rapidly. Coaches are being outnumbered by players, so the coaches only want the best

athletes on their team. As stated by Novos: We are looking for the smartest, toughest, and fittest

team-players who are willing to go that extra mile. This is inspiring to current and future

lacrosse athletes so that they can become very skilled and educated in lacrosse. These select

athletes are the best of the best (Dexter).

Whether you are in America or Germany, if the game is played in a different country it

feels no different then if you were playing on your home field. As stated by Sara Edwin: The

most interesting aspect to the entire trip, the clinics and tournament included, was that the
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atmosphere always had a decidedly lacrosse feel to it. When playing lacrosse in Germany,

English words are spoken like ball, shot, and dog because not translating the words into

German allow the players to make it more true to the game (Edwin)

Equally true to the game are its benefits and its challenges. According to the website

Health Fitness Revolution, the health benefits of lacrosse are numerous. These benefits include:

A high caloric burn rate-"A lacrosse field is 110 yards long and 60 yards wide; running through a

field this size is a high-impact aerobic activity. Increased mental acuity- It takes discipline to

play lacrosse, as the tactics and skill development needed take time and persistence to develop.

Cardiovascular endurance- Each players heart and lungs must be strong enough to play a full

game without getting tired, and like all organs, the heart and lungs adapt to the demands placed

on them. Agility- Lacrosse games involve continuous running and sprinting, as well as

throwing and catching the ball while on the run or changing direction. Coordination- One area

where lacrosse players benefit is in the training of fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination.

Improved mental health- According to, those who engage in intense physical

activities for prolonged time periods can relieve the symptoms of mild to moderate anxiety and

depression. Discipline- Devoting time to a team sport teaches the power of productive habits.

Regardless of whether you play lacrosse in Germany or in the U.S., the benefits - as well as the

risks associated with the sport - are the same. Certainly health risks posed by playing the sport

raise eyebrows, and with good cause (Health Fitness Revolution).

The Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation looked at 28 years of data on sudden death

events among high school and college lacrosse players. And some of their findings were

staggering: 23 high school and college lacrosse players had sudden-death events between 1980

and 2008, of those 23 athletes, 19 died, ten experienced blows to the chest from a lacrosse ball
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which triggered sudden death or nonfatal cardiac arrest (commotio cordis), the mortality risk for

lacrosse players as a result of commotio cordis (.63 deaths per 100,000 person-years) was

significantly greater than any other sport except hockey (.53 deaths per 100,000 person-years)

and baseball (.24 deaths per 100,000 person-years) (Lindsey Straus). The most recent death of a

lacrosse player was in 2012, when 12-year-old Tyler Kopp, a seventh-grader in Berlin, Germany,

was hit in the chest by a ball passed by an opposing player during a game. After Tyler was hit,

he collapsed to the floor and stopped breathing. Certainly these deaths are tragic. And in sports

where hard projectiles are used such as hockey, baseball, and lacrosse - these incidents certainly

pose risks. However, the sport has come a long way in terms of safety equipment to prevent such

tragic occurrences (Lindsey Straus).

In present day lacrosse worldwide, the game has been modified from when it was first

played. For men's lacrosse now helmets, chest pads, cleats, mouth guards, and protective gloves

are a requirement in order to play for safety purposes, and for womens lacrosse goggles, cleats

and mouth guards are required. And although risks are still possible in a sport which involves

both projectiles and physical contact, the tremendous health benefits as well as the ever-growing

popularity of this old American sport and young German sport, make the risks worth the pursuit -

a sport which traces its rich history back some 400 years and continues to ignite the passion of

new players today (Lindsey Straus).

Works Cited

Edwin, Sara. "Lacrosse In Germany: The Universal Language." Lacrosse All Stars. N.p.,

10 June 2013. Web. 07 May 2017.

Floyd, Dexter. The German-American Lacrosse Exchange. N.p., n.d. Web. 7 May 2017.
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Novus, Peter. "2016 FIL U19 Men's World Lacrosse Championships." 2016 U19 World

Lacrosse. N.p., 6 Aug. 2016. Web. 07 May 2017.

Revolution, Destiny. "Top 10 Health Benefits of Lacrosse Health Fitness Revolution."

Health Fitness Revolution. N.p., 14 Mar. 2016. Web. 07 May 2017.

Straus, JD Lindsey Barton. "Lacrosse Has Highest Death Rate From Ill-Timed Blows To Chest."

MomsTeam. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 May 2017.

Telter, Brianna. "What Was Happening 400 Years Ago in North America?" N.p., 18 Dec. 2015.

Web. 7 May 2017.