As with most lacrosse parents, organizations and players, you are probably wondering what is going on with the “new shoulder pad rule change” that is now in effect! But do not worry! We have all the information that you are going to need right here when it comes to the new lacrosse shoulder pad rule officially known as NOCSAE standard, ND200!
Before we begin, we must tell you that this is a crazy time period for lacrosse gear; as never in the history of the sport has an entire category of protective equipment all at one time become illegal for play, which has and will cause supply and demand issues throughout the United States! This coming season (2022), that will be the case for all Lacrosse Shoulder Pads, Shoulder Pad Liners and Speed Pads just as last year (2021) was the lacrosse goalie chest protector rule change!
So, let us get down to the exact details!!
Beginning on January 1st, 2022, the use of a shoulder pad, shoulder pad liner or a speed pad that is certified for the new NOCSAE performance standard, ND200 will be mandatory.
AT WHAT LEVEL?
NOCSAE ND200 will be essentially be REQUIRED at all organized levels of lacrosse in the United States and under USA Lacrosse, from youth lacrosse, high school lacrosse and all division of NCAA Lacrosse.
WHY THE RULE CHANGE?
Completely valid question! NOCSAE ND200 is the first-ever performance standard and product compliance for chest protection. The specific goal in mind for NOCSAE ND200 is to reduce impact forces and ultimately the risk of commotio cordis. (cardiac arrest due to a blow to the heart area).
Wait, Commotio Cordis? Yeah, we initially asked the same thing! Simply put, Commotio Cordis is the lethal disruption of heart rhythm that occurs as a result of a blow to the area directly over the heart at a critical time during the cycle of a heartbeat. While not a common occurrence, NOCSAE (National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment) has deemed further prevention was necessary from protective equipment.
HOW WILL IT BE ENFORCED?
This is where organizations and game officials need to make sure they are 100% in the know!
From a legal ramification side of things, if a player is NOT wearing a legally certified shoulder pad and the unfortunate incident of commotio cordis occurs then game officials, coaches and organizations may all be held legally liable for allowing a player to participate without non-certified equipment. As such, USA Lacrosse’s insurance policy WILL NOT cover nor protect game officials, coaches and organizations from any legal matters.
Here is a what USA Lacrosse has said directly:
“Further, intentionally violating the rules could bring greater liability to game officials and program leaders. The USA Lacrosse insurance policy states that game officials must officiate according to the approved rules. Therefore, if the officials permit the use of non-ND200 chest protection, and a lawsuit resulted, officials would not be covered if any liability suits arise. Similarly, leagues that violate the approved rules could be deemed negligent, and perhaps grossly negligent” – From USA Lacrosse’s Website
So essentially, it will be the job of game officials, coaches and organizations to ensure all players are wearing legally certified Shoulder Pads, Shoulder Pad Liners and Speed Pads (as well as Goalie Chest Protectors from last year’s rule change) during all practices, clinics, games, etc. at the risk of their individual and organizational liability.
CAN MY ORGANIZATION OFFER A WAIVER OF LIABILITY?
Based off of the USA Lacrosse and NOCSAE ruling an exemption waiver is absolutely NOT a work around of the new lacrosse shoulder pad rule. As stated above USA Lacrosse states “leagues that violate the approved rules could be deemed negligent, and perhaps grossly negligent”.
IS MY CURRENT PAD LEGAL?
The best way to determine if a pad is NOCSAE ND200 certified and legal is to look for the NOCSAE logo and SEI certification stamp (pictured below). This will be how team coaches, organizations and officials will ensure equipment meets compliance and is legal for play.
Simply put, if your Lacrosse Shoulder Pad, Shoulder Pad Liner or Speed Pad does not have this marking on it, it does not meet certification NOCSAE ND200 and will not be legal for play on and after January 1st, 2021.
WHAT PADS ARE LEGAL?
Within the past year, manufacturers have produced Lacrosse Shoulder Pads, Shoulder Pad Liners and Speed Pads that are NOCSAE ND200 certified and legal for the lacrosse shoulder pad rule change. This collection of Lacrosse Shoulder Pads, Shoulder Pad Liners and Speed Pads are available for immediate purchase at TopStringLacrosse.com which can be found HERE.
The pads listed below are all NOCSAE ND200 certified and legal, that we offer and are available from manufacturers as of this writing.
- TRUE TEMPER ZEROLYTE SHOULDER PADS
- TRUE TEMPER ZEROLYTE SHOULDER LINER
- STX CELL V SHOULDER PADS
- STX CELL V SHOULDER LINER
- MAVERIK M5 SHOULDER PADS
- MAVERIK M5 SPEED PAD
- WARRIOR EVO SHOULDER PADS
CAN I GET MY EXISTING SHOULDER PAD CERTIFIED?
Unfortunately, if a Lacrosse Shoulder Pad, Shoulder Pad Liner or Speed Pad was not built with the exact specifications deemed by NOCSAE for ND200, then an old pad cannot be certified for NOCSAE ND200 rule change.
IS MY OLD STX/NIKE SHOULDER PAD WITH THE REMOVABLE VELCRO PAD LEGAL?
Sadly not! While older STX and Nike shoulder pads had the removable Velcro pad on the inside of the chest, that pad is deemed optional by design and to be compliant with the new lacrosse shoulder pad rule the heart guard must be an integral part of the shoulder pad itself and not an optional piece.
CAN I USE A SECONDARY PIECE LIKE WITH BASEBALL/SOFTBALL PITCHERS?
Unfortunately, a secondary or auxiliary “Heart Guard” protective equipment in addition to a non-certified Lacrosse Shoulder Pad, Shoulder Pad Liner or Speed Pad will NOT be deemed legal for play. The Lacrosse Shoulder Pad, Shoulder Pad Liner or Speed Pad itself MUST be NOCSAE ND200 certified.
WHAT ABOUT GOALIES?
Similarly, to the lacrosse field player shoulder pad rule change, on January 1, 2021 all lacrosse goalies were required to wear a chest protector with built in heart guard protection. If your pad or your organization does not have a certified goalie chest protector, we highly recommend that you get one immediately.