U.S. Lacrosse, the sport's governing body, last week sent a letter to the NCAA and the National Federation of State High School Associations urging a rule change that would penalize players other than the goalkeeper from deliberately stepping in the path of a ball fired at the goal, according to Steve Stenersen, U.S. Lacrosse's executive director.

Stenersen said U.S. Lacrosse's Sports Science and Safety Committee recommended the rule change after its meeting last month in Baltimore, where a panel of experts discussed ways to reduce the risk of commotio cordis, a rare phenomenon believed to have killed Cornell lacrosse player George Boiardi, who died after being struck in the chest by a ball during a game on March 17. There have been five confirmed deaths from commotio cordis in college and high school lacrosse since 1982.

Since Boiardi's death, a number of area high school and college coaches have said they have asked their players not to step in front of shots, a practice known as eating the ball.

"Our job is to make recommendations that improve the safety of the sport," Stenersen said yesterday. "It makes no sense for an unprotected player to put himself in that position."

-- Tarik El-Bashir