New Lacrosse Goalie Chest Protector Rule in 2021
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 old STX 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 December 29, 2020. And the Warrior Nemesis is no longer on there??
You basically have just 5 chest protectors to choose from (top center Warrior Nemesis is now no longer approved):
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Here they are:
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 however it is NOT on the list of approved chest pads.
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.
Edit: This chest pad is now approved.
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 to help prevent the commotio cordis.
For example, there’s a company called Unequal which makes a goalie chest pad called the Hart. It’s specifically designed with reinforced heart protection and yet it is NOT on the list of approved chesties yet. Head scratcher. I reached out to Unequal to see what was going on but never heard back.
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?
During the 2021 USA LaxCon, PLL and top NCAA official Matt Palumb (also an outstanding goalie at Syracuse btw) said that it the responsibility of coaches and goalies to ensure they’re playing with legally certified gear.
So according to him, refs will not be lifting up jerseys to check for certified chesties. It’s on us as goalies, parents, and coaches.
When will remaining chest pads get approved? No clue. 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.
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 5 chest protectors have received the approval from NOCSAE so for the 2021 season be sure you’re using one of these 5 chesties:
Until next time! Coach Damon
Any questions about this new rule for goalie chest protectors? Leave me a comment down below.