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New HS Rules Pick Up Pace, Emphasize Safety
by Matt DaSilva | LaxMagazine.com | Twitter
|© Cecil Copeland
The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) on Wednesday announced several rules changes for the 2014 boys' lacrosse season. Most notably, the NFHS boys' lacrosse committee has eliminated substitution horns — following suit with an NCAA rules change that many believe increased the pace of play in 2013 — and has classified the targeting of defenseless players as an illegal body check.
"Intentional player-to-player collisions with players in a defenseless position are a concern," said Kent Summers, the NFHS liaison to the committee.
According to a recent video analysis study of 34 concussion incidents in Fairfax County (Va.) high school boys' lacrosse games, most commonly injured players were unaware of pending contact. The study was co-sponsored by the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE) and the US Lacrosse Sports Science and Safety Committee.
"This revision will reinforce the need to eliminate these collisions from the game," Summers said.
The NFHS boys' lacrosse committee also has increased the severity of penalties on checks to the head or neck to minimum two- or three-minute non-releasable infractions, another measure to reduce dangerous play.
Here's the complete NFHS release announcing the 19 rules changes it approved at its July 16-18 meeting in Indianapolis.
Major changes in substitution procedures in high school boys lacrosse will take effect with the 2014 season. For stoppages of play due to an out-of-bounds ball, a horn will no longer be sounded to allow time for substitution. Instead, players may substitute "on the fly" as they can during normal play.
This was one of 19 rules changes approved by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Boys Lacrosse Rules Committee at its July 16-18 meeting in Indianapolis. All rules changes were subsequently approved by the NFHS Board of Directors.
While substitution may occur during playing action, Rule 4-22 lists the various conditions under which substitution may occur. In addition, substitution may take place while play is suspended as follows: end of a period, scoring of a goal, injury time-out, equipment adjustment, after a time-serving penalty and during a team time-out.
A new article was added to Rule 7-2 to reduce congestion in the penalty area. A maximum of three players from the same team can be in the penalty area serving penalties at the same time. The penalty time of any additional players(s) shall not start until the penalty time of one of the three players in the penalty area expires.
Kent Summers, NFHS director of performing arts and sports and liaison to the Boys Lacrosse Rules Committee, said any additional penalized player(s) shall wait in the bench area immediately next to the scorer's table but not in the table area. A team shall not be required to play with fewer than seven on-field players solely because of players serving penalties. In addition, a player's penalty cannot be released by a goal until he is in the penalty area and the time on his penalty has started to elapse.
"The Boys Lacrosse Rules Committee believes this change should minimize risk for participants and clarify procedures for administration of penalties and substitution," Summers said.
In another change designed to minimize risk, the committee added a fifth example of an illegal body-check. Rule 5-3-5 will state that an illegal body-check is one that targets a player in a defenseless position. This includes but is not limited to: a) body-checking a player from his "blind side"; b) body-checking a player who has his head down in an attempt to play a loose ball; and c) body-checking a player whose head is turned away to receive a pass, even if that player turns toward the contact immediately before the body-check. A minimum of a two- or three-minute non releasable penalty is assessed for this violation.
"Intentional player-to-player collisions with players in a defenseless position are a concern, and this revision will reinforce the need to eliminate these collisions from the game," Summers said.
"Intentional player-to-player collisions with players in a defenseless position are a concern, and this revision will reinforce the need to eliminate these collisions from the game."
— Kent Summers, NFHS liaison to the boys' lacrosse rules committee
In Rule 5-4 – Checks Involving the Head/Neck – the penalty for a violation was strengthened by dropping the possibility of a one-minute penalty. Thus, a minimum two- or three-minute non releasable penalty will now be enforced for this violation. Summers said this increased penalty will reinforce the need to eliminate hits to the head/neck from the game.
Besides the substitution procedures changes, the committee altered three other rules in Rule 4 – Play of the Game. In Rule 4-4-3, during the faceoff in all penalty situations, there now must be four players in the defensive area and three players in the offensive area. An exception is when a team has three players in the penalty area, a player may come out of his defensive area to take the faceoff but must remain onside.
In Rule 4-10 regarding offside, a team now is considered offside when it has more than six players in its offensive half of the field, including players in the penalty box, or more than seven players in its defensive half of the field, including players in the penalty box.
"The unfair advantage in an offside situation is created by too many players on one side of the field – not too few," Summers said. "This change lets the foul reflect the unfair advantage and minimizes risk by allowing officials to 'count forward,' keeping their attention on the active side of the field."
In Rule 4-12, Article 4 and Article 5 were deleted to address confusion with enforcement of the offside rule.
As with other NFHS rules committee, the Boys Lacrosse Rules Committee revised the rule regarding use of electronic devices. Rule 1-10-2 will now allow the use of electronic equipment by coaches and players on the sideline. However, Rule 6-6-3 still prohibits the use of electronic devices to communicate with any of the 10 on-field players.
Rules 2-6-1 and 2-6-7 were revised to state that the officials' authority concludes when they leave the "immediate playing facility" rather than when they leave the "field of play."
"Officials should continue to have some jurisdiction if there is an incident after they step off the 'field of play,'" Summers said. "This revision is consistent with the language that gives state associations the ability to address situations that happen before, during and after the game."
In Rule 2-5, it is now recommended that a minimum of three officials be used to control the game (referee, umpire and field judge). While not a requirement, Summers said this change in philosophy is indicated in order to better control play, especially with the increased speed of the game.
Following are other changes approved by the Boys Lacrosse Rules Committee:
Rules 1-2-7, 8, 9: Increases the size of the substitution/table area to allow more space for players to get on and off the field and create better sight-lines for table personnel.
Rule 1-7-5: Any crosse used in a faceoff may not have tape on the plastic throat of the head.
Rule 1-9-1: Beginning with the 2017-18 school year, legal numbers are 0-99. This would prohibit double-digit numbers from zero through 9 (00, 01, 02, etc.).
Rule 1-10-1h: Eye shade that is not a solid stroke or includes words, numbers logos or other symbols within the eye shade is prohibited.
Rule 2-5-2: Part (e) of the recommended uniform for officials was changed as follows: "black stirrup socks with white over-the-calf crew socks on top or knee-length one-piece white with 4-inch black top or short black socks that cover the ankle."
Rule 2-6-1Note: Clarifies that the officials maintain jurisdiction of interrupted and/or suspended contests.
Rule 2-10-1: At the start of each period, a minimum of four balls should be spaced equidistant from each other five yards beyond the end line and four on both sidelines. On the bench side, balls should be placed at the scorer's table.
Rule 7-8-2k: During a Flag Down situation (Slow Whistle), the officials will now stop play to enforce penalties on a second defensive foul "during the final two minutes of regulation play with the team that is ahead and possessing the ball in the goal/attack area, unless a scoring play is imminent."
US Lacrosse Two and Three Man Mechanics
Below are links to the US Lacrosse Two and Three Man Mechanics power point presentations. Take a look at them to get familiar with them.
Two Man Mechanics
Three Man Mechanics
Trainer Saves Ref's Life At HS Hoops Game
BUFFALO, NY - Last Friday Melissa Hudecki, a certified athletic trainer who works for Catholic Health's AthletiCare Program, found herself assigned to a basketball game at Mt. Mercy Academy, an all girls high school in South Buffalo.
Hudecki took her customary place behind a team bench, on the alert for the usual maladies, which can befall athletes.
"If you see someone roll their ankle, or they're coming off the court holding their arm, you go and you talk to them you see what's going on," she said.
Midway through the game, she noticed referee James Martek, 54, running up the court as he had done countless times throughout the contest. Then she saw him suddenly collapse.
No Time To Spare:
Hudecki, who has taught Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) for 14 years (but only had to use it on one prior occasion) bounded from her post, quickly realizing that what looked like an already serious situation was even graver.
"As I crossed the court, his (Martek's) partner referee who was working with him, said to me, 'he had a heart attack before', and then he said to me that he had also had bypass surgery," Hudecki recalled for WGRZ-TV, while standing at the spot on the court where Martek went down.
She immediately instructed onlookers to call 9-1-1, and then called for someone to bring her the school's automated external defibrillator, which is stored in a corridor just outside the doors to the gymnasium.
Setting to work, she remembered, "I was thinking I'm going to do what I'm trained to do, and that Jim's a good guy and I just need him to pull through this."
Six days later, and one block away from the school at Mercy Hospital of Buffalo, Martek, who lives in Lancaster, was due to be discharged after having undergone treatment which involved the surgical installation of a defibrillating device in his body.
But before he left, hospital administrators arranged for an emotional reunion between the two.
Rising from his wheelchair to embrace Hudecki, Martek told her "Thank you..." to which she replied, "It's so good to see you up and about." "You know what, if it wasn't for you, I wouldn't be here," Martek told her.
Dr. Rob Wall, the cardiologist who treated Martek, confirmed as much.
"The death rate associated with what Mr. Martek had is very high, only less than five-percent of the people live," Wall told Two On Your Side, in describing Ventricular tachycardia (VT), a rapid heartbeat that starts in the ventricles, and which almost killed Martek.
This is especially true in victims to whom aid is not rendered immediately, according to Wall, who credited not only Hudecki but also the quick actions of Buffalo firefighters who were on the scene within minutes.
Martek has no memory of the incident, and said the last thing he remembers before waking up in the hospital was dressing for the game.
It also turns out that he and Hudecki had crossed paths before.
"I remember Melissa from when she was a St. Joseph's (Collegiate Institute) scorekeeper for lacrosse, because I also officiate lacrosse" Turning toward Hudecki he said, "So here it is ten years later, and when I heard it was you (who came to his aid) I said, 'she's my angel of mercy',".
You Never Know:
Looking at Martek, who is fit, trim, and relatively young, one might not suspect he'd be a candidate for a heart attack.
Then again, one can't judge a book by its cover, and his story is rife with chapters of foreboding.
"I had a bypass 12 years ago...and as for the genetic history of my family, all my brothers and sisters have had some kind of heart problem," he confirmed.
"Unfortunately Mr. Martek has an electrical instability of the heart itself, and it's because he (also) has blocked arteries, it lead him to have this fast (nearly) fatal rhythm," said Dr. Wall.
Now, with a new lease on his life, Martek has decided to hang up his referee's shirt,
"I've been married thirty years and my wife has sacrificed during the last 20 because I would be gone four or five days a week (refereeing sports)," he said. "I think it's time that I reassess what I do and it's time I spend more time with my family because this makes me think...Friday could have been my last day with her and I'd like to have another 30 years with her so , yes, more than likely that was the last game I will ever ref."
However, as long as one has a life, it remains full of opportunities.
Why Not Join Him?
In this time of year, when perhaps several of us have made resolutions (and by now know whether we'll keep to them) Martek, who turns 55 in three weeks, has a new one himself.
He has vowed that this will be the year that he learns CPR.
And, he's hoping that Hudecki will teach him.
"It's a life skill everyone should have from the age when they can babysit," she said. "Knowing that he's going to learn how to do CPR will maybe encourage other people to say, 'you know what? Maybe this is something I really should do as well.'"
Follow this link to the American Red Cross, which offers courses in CPR.
Click on the video player to watch our story from 2 On Your Side Reporter Dave McKinley and Photojournalist Norm Fisher. Follow Dave on Twitter: @DaveMcKinley2
Youtube Recruitment Video
".....Sportsmanship number one!, you play and we'll ref......"
Tom Sutton 2009 NCAA Semi-Finals