New Lacrosse Goalie Chest Protector Rule in 2021
By Coach Damon on March 25, 2019
Last week I posted my review of the new Maverik Rome chest pad.
Rightfully so, many of you asked if this chest pad was approved for the new rule change passed by US Lacrosse.
What rule change you ask? Let’s back up.
Because unlike this rule change, the one I’m about to outline is very real.
US Lacrosse Approves Chest Protector Rule Change
Among the 2019 rule changes introduced by US lacrosse was a change meant to ensure that goalies were not using faulty chest protectors.
The rule changes will be included in the 2019 US Lacrosse Boys’ and Girls’ Field Lacrosse rulebooks.
The rule change was implemented to reduce the risk of a rare yet deadly injury called commotio cordis.
In layman’s terms, Commotio cordis, is a heart rhythm disruption caused by a blow to the chest, i.e. a shot, and causes the heart to stop beating resulting in sudden cardiac death if not immediately treated with AED device.
Before the goalie moms and dads freakout and ban their kid from playing goalie, understand that this is extremely rare – according to NOCSAE approximately 5-15 athletes (of all sports) die each year from commotio cordis.
Yet we should applaud US Lacrosse for making this rule change to ensure that it never happens to even 1 goalie.
The rule change was approved in 2019 but doesn’t go into effect until 2021 for US Lacrosse boys’ and girls’ youth field lacrosse which will allow lacrosse manufacturers to get the right approvals needed for their chest protectors.
Here is the exact line from the rulebook which will apply for both boys and girls:
*Note: Beginning in 2021, only a goalkeeper chest protector designed for lacrosse that incorporates the NOCSAE ND200 will be legal for play and shall contain an SEI certification mark.
Additionally, in boys lacrosse only, by 2022 all field players must have heart protection as well:
* Note: Beginning in 2022, field players must wear protectors for commotio cordis that meet the NOCSAE ND200 standard and contain an SEI certification mark
I think that means we’ll start to see shoulder pads that have the additional heart protection in the 2022 season.
Chest Protectors Meeting NOCSAE Standard
Many of the top chest protectors in the game already include the additional protective piece that meets the NOCSAE standard.
In fact, even the chest protector I played with in my college days in 2003 had an additional plate over the heart that gave me this protection.
That said, all the lacrosse chest protector manufacturers will need to submit their products for testing in order to receive the SEI certification mark.
To check the list of approved chest protectors, you can go to this site: https://www.seinet.org/search.htm
Then select program = NOCSAE: Chest Protectors (Lacrosse) (ND200-17a).
At the time of this writing the only approved chest pad is the Warrior Nemesis:
Edit: Here are the list of now approved chest protectors as February 3, 2020.
I think all other manufacturers are still working to get their proper approvals before 2021.
Most modern chest pads – like the Maverik Rome I reviewed last week – contain the reinforced chest plate and protection that helps reduce the chance of Commotio cordis.
Even the Warrior Nemesis Pro – the sequel to the Warrior Nemesis – isn’t on the list yet. But you can clearly see the additional protection over the heart that this chest pad provides.
So I think for the majority the chest protectors available, it’s a question of getting the official certification, not a question of having to redo the entire chest protector’s design.
If your goalie is using a chest pad from circa 1990 then we may have a problem. But if they’re using a newer version, odds are they’ll be ok.
The thing that’s still unknown for me is exactly how referees will enforce this new rule.
Does the chest protector get an additional sticker if it appears on this approved list? Or does simply being on the list justify the chest pad’s legality?
I tweeted at USLacrosse and NOCSAE to try to get some answer but they never responded:
I realize there is still a lot of time between now and January 2021 but I was surprised to see only 1 chest protector on the approved list.
There’s a quite a few chest protectors for goalies and I imagine it takes a quite a while to finish official testing of each.
When will the others get their certification? Remains to be seen.
US lacrosse passed a new rule regarding chest protectors that takes effect in January 2021.
Each goalie chest pad must be SEI certified which is done to ensure the goalie has the additional heart protection that help reduce a rare case of getting hit in the chest at the wrong time and having the heart stop.
By the following year even field players will need heart protection so good on US lacrosse for continuing to preach player safety. Now – what about goalie concussions?
So far only 1 chest protector – the Warrior Nemesis – has gotten the official certification but I think it’s just a matter of time for most chest pad manufacturers as they do contain what I think is sufficient heart protection.
Until next time! Coach Damon
Any questions about this new rule for goalie chest protectors? Leave me a comment down below.