New Chest Protectors Guard Against Commotio Cordis

Last fall, US Lacrosse approved rule changes requiring that boys’ and girls’ goalies wear chest protectors that meet the NOCSAE performance standard ND200. Language to that effect was added to the 2019 US Lacrosse rulebooks, as well as the 2019 NFHS/USL Girls’ High School Rulebook.

Implementation of the rule, however, was delayed until 2021 in order to allow for product development by equipment manufacturers. Evidently, that delay was not needed.

In time for the 2019 season, Warrior Sports has rolled out a goalie chest protector, the Nemesis Pro Chest Pad 19, which meets the new standard and is tested to reduce the likelihood of commotio cordis. The new product is an upgrade of Warrior’s traditional Nemesis protector, and now includes a foam chest plate with inserts that provide enhanced impact absorption at both high and low speeds.

The new Nemesis 19 has been certified by the independent Safety Equipment Institute (SEI), and is available for purchase in adult sizes. Warrior intends to have smaller sizes, suitable for younger players, certified by mid-year.

“In regards to product design, we wanted to keep it in the same family,” said Rick Janisse, product engineer at Warrior Sports. “The biggest change was to the sternum area and the pads.”

STX is also expected to have SEI-certified chest protection products on the market later this year. The company will initially offer goalie chest protection at three price points, including a youth product. At the same time, STX could be the first manufacturer to release certified chest protection for field players, although it has not yet disclosed specific design information.

“This has been a multi-year process and we’ve done a lot of work with different laboratories,” said Patrick Gowan, director of product management at STX. “It’s been an interesting challenge.”

The NOCSAE performance standard ND200 was formally approved in 2017 after being developed based on significant research and testing by Dr. Mark Link, a board-certified cardiac electrophysiologist and worldwide authority on commotio cordis — a type of sudden cardiac arrest caused by a blunt, but often relatively mild, blow to the area of the chest directly over the heart occurring during a precise moment of the heart's cycle.

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