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Health & Safety
| Mar 10, 2022

NOCSAE Statement on the Performance Standard to Protect Against Commotio Cordis

By USA Lacrosse

NOCSAE, the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment, is an independent and nonprofit standards development body with the mission to enhance athletic safety through scientific research and the creation of performance standards for athletic equipment. 

USA Lacrosse has worked closely with NOCSAE through the years to help develop various lacrosse equipment standards, including the NOCSAE performance standard (ND200) to protect against commotio cordis. This is the standard used in boys' and girls' goalie chest protectors, as well as in shoulder pads for boys' field players.

(March 10, 2022) ― The NOCSAE performance standard to protect against commotio cordis (ND200) was developed to help protect athletes against one of the leading causes of sudden cardiac death in sports. All NOCSAE standards are continually updated as new data is received. The various changes to ND200 over several years involve revisions to certain testing protocols and do not alter the protective ability of certified equipment.

Recently, misleading public statements have been made concerning equipment certified to this standard. Statements which misrepresent previous versions of the standard or make claims of superior product performance by a particular brand over another brand of certified protector, are inaccurate at best and may be intentionally false and designed to mislead in order to promote a specific product.

It’s important for the lacrosse community to understand the following:

● Products certified to any version of ND200 remain properly and actively certified by Safety Equipment Institute (SEI) as compliant with the NOCSAE standard.

● A revision to a standard does not void an existing product’s certification to a prior version. The USA Lacrosse rules of play as well as those of the NCAA and NFHS specify only the use of equipment certified compliant with ND200 or which meet NOCSAE standards. They do not require certification to any specific version of ND200, nor should they.

● Equipment certified to the prior versions of ND200 are no less protective than equipment certified to the most recent versions. The performance demands and the pass/fail levels did not change.

● NOCSAE standards impose pass/fail performance levels which are developed from injury risk thresholds identified and validated by experts. A product either meets the standard or it does not. There is no ranking or rating. Any claim that one certified product provides more protection than another certified product based on the NOCSAE standards testing is not supported by independent research.

● While no athletic equipment can eliminate all risk in sports activities, studies show the risk of experiencing a commotio cordis event while wearing a properly fitted, certified protector is substantially reduced.

● NOCSAE advises players to follow the manufacturer’s fitting and sizing instructions to make sure certified equipment is properly worn. Wearing certified equipment that is too loose or improperly fitted will reduce or even eliminate protection from commotio cordis.

NOCSAE is actively investigating recent claims about certified products and will make a full report of our findings. Should we conclude that any licensee or brand has made false or misleading claims or has violated its license agreement with NOCSAE as related to our standards, we will take all necessary actions.

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