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New Jersey father leading charge to mandate helmets in high school girls lacrosse

Rob Stolker leading charge to mandate helmets in high school girls lacrosse
Rob Stolker leading charge to mandate helmets in high school girls lacrosse 02:08

MONMOUTH COUNTY, N.J. -- Girls lacrosse is one of the fastest-growing sports in high school. But one rule for boys does not apply to girls.

It's not mandatory to wear helmets in girls lacrosse.

But as CBS2's Steve Overmyer reported Wednesday, one New Jersey dad is trying to change that.

Girls wearing helmets, right now, is just a vision of the future.

"It's what the future should look like. It's my vision and many others. This isn't just me," Rob Stolker said.

While helmets are mandatory in boys lacrosse, girls lacrosse is considered a non-contact sport. Still, concussions are happening because they're being hit with the ball.

"You're playing with a stick, a rock-hard ball. The sport is played above the head. Accidents will happen," Stolker said.

Stolker had two daughters who played lacrosse. He said he couldn't believe there were no helmets on the market, so he designed one.

"Do you have a career in product design?" Overmyer asked.

"None. None whatsoever. I'm not a scientist. I'm not an engineer. I'm not a student. I truly can tell you from my experience that passion outweighs all that knowledge," Stolker said.

According to studies, girls lacrosse is second only to soccer in the number of concussions. Florida is the only state mandating headgear. It has 59 percent fewer concussions than any other state.

"A lot of the findings created additional questions," said Ann Carpenetti, with USA Lacrosse Safety.

She said while the helmet debate has been a hot topic, the organization is still collecting data.

"Our position is that we need to study the efficacy of headgear that is seeking to minimize and use data and research to lead us in future policy decisions," Carpenetti said.

"Is there a benchmark that needs to be met before considering headgear as a mandate?" Overmyer asked.

"I don't think we have a benchmark, but I think we should do additional study," Carpenetti said.

Helmets are optional, but Stolker says this safety measure isn't embraced by the lacrosse culture.

"Let's just stop the unnecessary head injuries, and we can do that just by putting headgear on these girls," Stolker said. "It's time for the culture to change."

USA Lacrosse went on to say that mandating headgear is never off the table. It just needs more studies.

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