NOCSAE Statement on the Performance Standard to Protect Against Commotio Cordis (ND200)

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (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.

NOCSAE Winter Standards Meeting Progress on Shoulder Pads Research, Youth Football Helmet Standard and Headform Redesign

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (February 9, 2022) ― The National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE) convened its hybrid Winter Meeting on January 28, welcoming remote and in-person attendees in Litchfield Park, Arizona. The Standards Committee shared updates on key initiatives, including the research study on shoulder pads, the redesign of NOCSAE’s headforms and advancements in criteria for the proposed youth football helmet standard. NOCSAE also shared an overview of its helmet data tracking system and anticipated next steps in the rollout of a public portal for consumers.

NOCSAE Research

As part of NOCSAE’s mission to enhance athletic safety through scientific research, the board of directors established a new RFP research funding program in 2021. The purpose of the program is to request research on specific and sometimes narrow questions related to advancing standards development. For the initial research program, the RFP Committee requested proposals to evaluate if shoulder pads have a significant role related to injuries of the shoulder, chest, neck or head and to help determine whether such data is sufficient to support the development of a shoulder pad standard.

In July, the NOCSAE board unanimously approved a study that will track shoulder pad-related injuries in high school football and provide a range of video-based biomechanical data. The Prevalence and Descriptive Surveillance (PADS) study is led by principal investigators Christine L. Collins, PhD, president Datalys Center for Sports Injury Research and Prevention in Indianapolis and Jason P. Mihalik, PhD, professor of Department of Exercise and Sport Science and co-director of the Matthew Gfeller Sport-Related Traumatic Brain Injury Research Center at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

Researchers are currently gathering input from athletic trainers across the nation with a goal of including 200 schools. Participating schools are reporting head, shoulder, chest and neck injuries that are associated with player-to-player contact with the shoulder as well as a complete football shoulder pad inventory. In addition, video-based head impact biomechanical data for youth, high school and college football will be reviewed. The PADS study has been underway since August and will collect data through June 2022.

In December, NOCSAE appointed Kim D. Barber Foss, MS, LAT, ATC, CCRP to the role of Research Director. Barber Foss will oversee NOCSAE’s research program which has funded more than $13 million in studies since 1994. At the Winter Meeting, Barber Foss shared updates on current research projects and recommendations moving forward. The board unanimously approved reactivating NOCSAE’s small grants program to fund research studies under $50,000. NOSCAE will share updates on criteria and deadlines for proposals in the coming months. Learn more about all of NOCSAE’s research programs here.

Proposed Youth Football Helmet Performance Standard

The NOCSAE Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) and Technical Director continue to advance work on the proposed new Youth Football Helmet Performance Standard (ND006-21) which is still in draft status. In December 2020, the SAC recommended a two-tiered rotational testing standard to account for the differences in athletic behaviors of youth players ages 5-8 and 9-14. The recommendation included two impact velocities and two pass/fail criteria. At the Summer Meeting, the Technical Director presented testing that demonstrated two meaningful impact velocities would not be possible and recommended one pass/fail criteria for all youth helmets. Based on that update, the SAC and Technical Director have determined a 5.0 m/s impact with a pass/fail of 5,000 rad/s² will be used moving forward. Development of the proposed standard is a priority for NOCSAE and the next progress report will be shared at the Summer Meeting in July.

Nine Array Headform Redesign

NOCSAE was a pioneer in the development of variable mass biofidelic headforms that model the biomechanics of a human head, including impedance and harmonics of an actual impact. The NOCSAE headforms allow for more accurate testing of helmets and projectiles. In 2020, NOCSAE finalized plans to redesign the headforms with enhanced biofidelity and testing capabilities. The new Nine Array headform design features increased central space to accommodate expanded data collection sensors and arrays.
At the Winter Meeting, the NOCSAE Technical Director reported that molds for all headform sizes have been completed and initial durability and instrument testing for the medium headform was successful. Further instrument testing is temporarily on hold because key materials used for the headform covering are no longer being manufactured. NOCSAE expects to test new medium headforms made with alternative materials later this year. These tests will determine any adjustments needed to finalize the small- and large-size headforms.

NOCSAE Helmet Data Tracking System

Rick Perkins with Helmet Tracker shared an update on the NOCSAE helmet data tracking system which was developed to track a range of data points on individual helmets, including reconditioning and recertification status. The goal of the program is to provide consumers and sports stakeholders a way to quickly determine the status of a helmet through a simple RFID or bar code scan, or by entering the unique label number into a search portal. Currently, the system contains data for more than 1.5 million football helmets, and it is being used by reconditioners, manufacturers, governing bodies, schools and the NFL.
NOCSAE is currently evaluating options for creating a public portal on the NOCSAE website so that coaches, athletes, parents and other interested parties can directly access core helmet data for an individual helmet. The data would include the last reconditioning and recertification date as well as the name of the company that recertified the helmet. Manufacturers and reconditioners continue to add new and existing helmets to the NOCSAE data system.

Standards Updates

The Standards Committee unanimously approved a revision to the Commotio Cordis Test Method Standard (ND200-22) requiring specific labeling for protectors that have a removable primary protective component. Manufacturers must include a statement that the product is not compliant with the standard unless assembled in accordance with manufacturer directions. The Technical Director also discussed two modifications to the standard. The first modification clarifies the samples required for testing in section 5.2. The second modification in section 16.4 underscores that fitting and use instructions should allow the wearer to determine if the cardiac silhouette is covered by the protective component. The revised and modified version of ND200-22 will become effective in February 2023.
Other Modifications:

  • The Football Helmet Performance Specification (ND002-17m21) was modified to add an equipment specification for the pneumatic ram test to distinguish criteria for adult and youth helmets.
  • The Baseball Performance Specification (ND027-18m21) was adjusted to change quality control compliance criteria from Level 3 to Level 2. The change does not impact pass/fail requirements.
  • The Football Faceguard Test Method/Performance Specification (ND087-18m21) was updated with new language to clarify test requirements based on the product design. The Technical Director also added maximum deformation and compression force values for the rigid deformation test. Faceguards can compress up to three inches or withstand 1,100 pounds of force to meet the standard.

Potential Non-Tackle Football Headgear Standard

With the rise in popularity of flag football and 7-on-7, the NOCSAE Standards Committee continues to evaluate the potential development of a non-tackle football headgear standard. The Standards Committee is reviewing available data related to head and facial injuries in non-tackle football to inform potential next steps and considering the protective value of both soft head gear protection and hard helmets.

Interested parties are invited to submit comments and questions to NOCASE Executive Director Mike Oliver at mike.oliver@nocsae.org.

NOCSAE Summer Standards Meeting Update: NOCSAE Reports Progress on Youth Football Helmet Standard and Advances Shoulder Pads Research

The Committee also shared updates on the development of new headforms for testing and continued discussions on a potential standard for non-tackle football

 

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (July 28, 2021) ― This year’s National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE) Summer Standards Committee Meeting was held virtually and in-person in Miami, Fla., on July 23. At the meeting, the Standards Committee shared updates on the Request for Proposal (RFP) regarding shoulder pads and the proposed Youth Football Helmet Standard, took voting action on athletic equipment safety standards for a range of sports and advanced discussions on a potential non-tackle football helmet standard.

RFP on Shoulder Pads

Dr. Robert Cantu, NOCSAE vice president and representative of the American College of Sports Medicine, provided an update on NOCSAE’s new RFP research funding program and RFP for shoulder pads issued in February. The NOCSAE RFP Committee asked to receive proposals that evaluated if shoulder pads are a significant mechanism of injury to the shoulder/chest/neck or head and to help determine whether such data is sufficient to support the development of a shoulder pad standard or if additional research is warranted.

The RFP Committee has evaluated and strongly recommended a proposal from principal investigators Christine L. Collins, PhD, president Datalys Center for Sports Injury Research and Prevention in Indianapolis and Jason P. Mihalik, PhD, professor of Department of Exercise and Sport Science and co-director of the Matthew Gfeller Sport-Related Traumatic Brain Injury Research Center at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. The proposal will track shoulder pad-related injuries in high school football and provide additional biomechanical data beyond the RFP criteria. The NOCSAE board of directors unanimously approved the recommendation during the board meeting Friday afternoon.

Proposed Youth Football Helmet Performance Standard

The NOCSAE Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) and technical director continue to advance work on the proposed new Youth Football Helmet Performance Standard (ND006-21). In December 2020, the SAC recommended a two-tiered rotational testing standard to account for the differences in athletic behaviors of youth players ages 5-8 and 9-14. The recommendation includes two impact velocities and two pass/fail criteria. Youth helmets would have to comply with both criteria to pass. The technical director is scheduled to conduct further testing once the new NOCSAE headforms are available in August. The SAC will reconvene to evaluate the findings and continue to discuss and finalize recommendations for the proposed standard.

Effective Date for Revisions to Commotio Cordis Test Method

The Standards Committee continued discussions and responded to questions and comments about approved revisions to the Test Method and Performance Specification Used in Evaluating the Performance of Protectors for Commotio Cordis (ND200-21). These included updates to terminology and technical specifications for impact area and load cell locations to facilitate better testing of multiple size protectors. The revisions were approved at the January 2021 meeting, but implementation was suspended to allow resolution for some procedural issues related to notice. The Standards Committee approved an effective date of January 31, 2023 for ND200-21. Manufacturers may choose to comply with these revisions before that date.

Update on Nine Array Headform Redesign

Technical Director Elizabeth McCalley provided an update on continuing work on the Nine Array headform redesign. As discussed in the winter meeting, NOCSAE finalized a CAD design aimed at improving the biofidelity of headforms. The redesign is intended to improve the testing capabilities of the headforms through increased central space to accommodate multiple types of data collection sensors and arrays.

Design files were submitted to the mold maker in early spring 2020 but the development process was delayed when the company pivoted to manufacturing PPE during COVID19. The process is now back on track and NOCSAE expects the first medium headform scheduled to be delivered in August. Initial testing will determine any adjustments needed to finalize the small- and large-size headforms.

Additional Standards Updates

The Standards Committee approved a modification to the Pneumatic Ram Test Method (ND081-18am21) that added new technical specifications and a modification to the Laboratory Procedural Guide for Certifying Newly Manufactured Protectors for Commotio Cordis (ND201-21) that clarifies fitting and positioning instructions. The Committee also voted to reaffirm the following standards, confirming each would stay in its current form.

  • Standard Performance Specification ND043-11m16 for Recertified Lacrosse Helmets
  • Standard Performance Specification ND035-11m16 for Newly Manufactured Hockey Face Protectors
  • Standard Performance Specification ND032-11m16 for Recertified Ice Hockey Helmets
  • Standard Performance Specification ND030-11m16 for Newly Manufactured Ice Hockey Helmets

Finally, the Standards Committee will continue to discuss the development of an ND000 specification, a potential complement to ND001. ND001 is a standard test method specification describing laboratory equipment and basic requirements pertinent to testing headgear/equipment. Deviations, additions, or both, to this test method are specified as required in the appropriate NOCSAE standard performance specifications.

Potential Non-Tackle Football Headgear

The Standards Committee continued discussions concerning the possible development of a standard for non-tackle football headgear for flag football and 7v7. As non-tackle football grows in popularity, NOCSAE is considering the potential need for head gear and face protection. There is very little data as to the type, frequency, and severity of head and facial injuries in non-tackle football, and NOCSAE is taking steps to review and confirm the existing data in advance of the Winter Standards Committee Meeting in January.

Review of Standards Adoption Process

Executive Director Mike Oliver shared a clarification on NOCSAE’s standards adoption process. Specifically, Oliver provided context on how the public comment period works for both new and revised standards, noting each allows a minimum of thirty days for public input. Oliver also discussed how effective dates for new and revised standards are determined and noted licensees have a minimum of twelve months to comply with approved revisions. NOCSAE is an ANSI Accredited Standards Developer and follows the ANSI essential requirements for due process to ensure fairness, transparency and consensus. More information on the process is available here.

Recognizing NOCSAE Research Director, Fred Mueller, Ph.D.

After 15 years of dedicated service to NOCSAE, Fred Mueller, Ph.D. is retiring. During his tenure with NOCSAE, Fred managed 359 full grant applications, ultimately funding 40 grants totaling $8,435,000. Mueller significantly elevated and advanced NOCSAE’s program and the organization’s contribution to athletic equipment research, understanding of injury risk threshold and athlete safety. NOCSAE Executive Director Mike Oliver noted, “Fred has carried the banner in the research area with incredible skill and a humble attitude. We are grateful for his service and wish him the best as he begins his next chapter.”

No stranger to achievement, Mueller was honored in 2016 with a Lifesaving Research Award from the Korey Stringer Institute for his exceptional dedication as the former director of the National Center for Catastrophic Sport Injury Research at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He is also a recipient of the National Federation of State High School Associations’ Award of Merit. In recognition of Mueller’s contributions to sports safety, NOCSAE made a donation to Mueller’s Gathering Place, an outdoor garden created and dedicated to honor Mueller at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Mueller was a faculty member at UNC for 41 years and chaired the Department of Exercise and Sports Science from 1995-2005.

More information on all NOCSAE standards is available at nocsae.org.

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NOCSAE Standards Committee to Meet July 23, 2021

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (June 2021) ― The NOCSAE Standards Committee will hold its Summer Standards Committee meeting July 23, 2021 virtually, as well as in person in Miami, Fla.

To attend the online meeting, you must be registered, which you can do via this link.

For those who wish to attend in person, please email Melinda Cook at mlc@orlawyers.net. Seating is limited and is at standing room only.

The meeting will …

  • Discuss research findings from the NOCSAE Scientific Advisory Committee
  • Reaffirm the status of a number of existing standards which are not being revised or withdrawn
  • Discuss a modification to Standard ND081, the Standard Pneumatic Ram Test Method (relating to testing youth helmets) and a modification to Standard ND201 Laboratory Procedural Guide for Certifying Newly Manufactured Chest Protectors for Commotio Cordis
  • Discuss proposed edits to the draft of Standard 006-21 Standard Performance Specification for Newly Manufactured Youth Football Helmets.

There will also be a vote on the revisions to ND 200-21 Standard Test Method and Performance Specification Used in Evaluating the Performance Characteristics of Protectors for Commotio Cordis that were previously approved at the last Standards Committee meeting, but were suspended due to procedural matters.

For a more detailed lineup of what to expect, visit the meeting’s agenda, found here.

Comments or questions related to the agenda items should be sent by Friday, July 9, 2021 to Executive Director Mike Oliver: mike.oliver@nocsae.org.

Comments specific to a standard may be made through the NOCSAE website. This method requires registering on the site first, then locating the appropriate standard on the Standards Matrix found here.

The virtual meeting will be held using GoTo Meetings. You do not need a GoTo account to join the meeting. Information about GoTo can be found here.

NOCSAE’s Winter Standards Committee to Meet January 29, 2021

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (December, 2020) ― NOCSAE’s Winter Standards Committee Meeting will be held virtually on January 29, 2021 to cover research findings from the NOCSAE Scientific Advisory Committee, as well as discuss various existing and potential standards.

A vote will be held on whether the formal standards development process should be commenced on requested potential revisions for the following standards. (The potential revision for all four standards is the same and involves adding a compression deflection upper limit of 400 pounds to the softball projectile specification.)

·       ND022 – Standard Performance Specification for Newly Manufactured Baseball/Softball Batter’s Helmets

·       ND024- Standard Performance Specification for Newly Manufactured Baseball/Softball Catcher’s Helmets

·       ND029 – Standard Performance Specification for Newly Manufactured Baseball/Softball Fielder’s Headgear

·       ND072 – Standard Performance Specification for Newly Manufactured Baseball/Softball Batter’s Helmet Mounted Face Protector

A vote will also be held on whether to begin the formal standards development process on a potential revision to ND200 – Standard Test Method and Performance Specification Used in Evaluating the Performance Characteristics of Protectors for Commotio Cordis.

ND006-20, the proposed Standard Performance Specification for Newly Manufactured Youth Football Helmets, will also be discussed.

The opportunity to make comments during the meeting will be limited by time, so if you have comments regarding the agenda or specific to a standard that you want the committee to address, please make them in advance of the meeting.

Comments or questions related to the agenda items should be sent by Jan. 11 to Executive Director Mike Oliver: mike.oliver@nocsae.org.

Comments specific to a standard may be made through the NOCSAE website. This method requires registering on the site first, then locating the appropriate standard on the Standards Matrix found here.

This meeting will be held using Cisco Webex, a video conferencing service. You do not need a Webex account to join a meeting. Answers to how to join a Webex meeting and frequently asked questions regarding Webex can be found here. Video tutorials for joining a Webex meeting can be found here.

NOCSAE’s Winter Standards Committee Meeting to Be Held Virtually

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (November 2020) ― Amid concerns regarding COVID-19 and its continued spread, the decision was made to move NOCSAE’s Winter Standards Committee Meeting to a virtual event, scheduled to take place this year on Jan. 29, 2021.

Interested parties will be able to revisit www.nocsae.org and https://nocsae.org/meetings/ later this winter to register and gain further details.

NOCSAE Summer Standards Meeting Update: NOCSAE Advances Formal Process to Develop a Youth Football Helmet Performance Standard

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (August 5, 2020) ― The National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE) held its first virtual public meeting on Friday, July 24. The Standards Committee addressed updates to athletic equipment safety standards for a range of sports and advanced discussions on the proposed youth football helmet standard and proposed revisions to the performance standard to protect against commotio cordis.

Proposed New Youth Football Helmet Performance Standard

In January 2020, the Standards Committee voted to move forward with developing a football helmet standard specific to youth players. NOCSAE’s existing football helmet standard applies to players of all sizes, and helmets that are small enough to be worn by “youth players” are generally tested on a biofidelic head form that is similar to a 50th percentile 10-year-old male.

The development of any new standard begins with a “proposed” new standard which is the first step in a multi-year process to develop and refine performance and test criteria. The standard will remain in “proposed” status for a minimum of twelve months, during which time NOCSAE invites all interested parties to submit comments, objections and suggestions.

At the July meeting, the technical director recommended terminology and test requirements for the proposed Standard Performance Specification for Newly Manufactured Youth Football Helmets (ND006-20). Youth Football is defined as football played by persons who have not yet reached high school, or who are participating in youth football. To provide starting points for comments and discussions, the proposed new youth football helmet standard suggests a weight limit of 3.5 pounds for the helmet, facemask and attachments, and peak rotational acceleration limits of 2,000 radians per second squared (or rad/sec2). As proposed, the drop test criteria will remain the same for the youth helmet as the existing NOCSAE football helmet standard. The technical director also provided a progress update on the development of initial pneumatic ram and impactor head prototypes, and presented and discussed multiple comments and suggestions received from interested parties regarding the proposed new standard. As a next step, the technical director recommended NOCSAE develop a rigorous test plan to examine the system and feasibility of the proposed test standard.

The NOCSAE Standards Committee recognizes there are significant concerns and questions about risks related to youth tackle football shared by diverse stakeholders, as well as ongoing policy discussions across the country about how best to address and manage these risks. However, as long as youth continue to play this sport, NOCSAE believes it has a responsibility to advance the development of a youth helmet football performance standard that is evidence-based.

The proposed standard is expected to undergo significant changes in the development process which will likely take several years. A copy of the proposed standard is available for review at this link. More information about the Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) recommendations and research studies that informed the proposed standard are available in NOCSAE’s Youth Helmet Football Standard Research and Development Update.

Proposed Revisions to the Performance Standard to Protect Against Commotio Cordis

The technical director also provided an update on ongoing efforts to refine the testing process for the Standard Test Method and Performance Specification Used in Evaluating the Performance Characteristics of Protectors for Commotio Cordis (ND200-20). NOCSAE has received significant public input on the testing process and performance criteria, and continues to work with key stakeholders to identify and address proposed revisions to the existing standard. Key areas of focus include identifying a methodology to ensure consistency in the placement of protective products on the mechanical chest surrogate throughout the testing process and refining the impact protocols as they relate to the cardiac load cells. The Standards Committee did not take voting action.

Reaffirmation of Existing Standards

NOCSAE and ANSI protocols require a formal reaffirmation of all standards that have not been modified or revised in five years. The Standards Committee has the option to maintain, revise or withdraw these standards. In accordance with that requirement, the Standards Committee voted to reaffirm two existing standards, including the Standard Performance Specification for Recertified Football Helmets (ND004-11m15) and the Test Method and Performance Specification for Football Gloves (ND019-10m15a).

Updates to Existing Standards

The Standards Committee also acknowledged minor modifications to existing standards, including clarifying the ram mass for the Standard Pneumatic Ram Test Method (ND081-18am20).

Potential New Standard for Non-Contact Football Headgear

The Standards Committee continues to evaluate the possibility of developing a new equipment performance standard for head and face protection for flag or touch football and similar sports like 7-on-7. Flag football is currently one of the fastest growing team sports and more youth are playing flag football today than tackle football. Preliminary data suggest that serious head and facial injury occasionally occurs from unanticipated and unintentional contact with other players and impacts with the ground, and that many of these injuries are preventable with appropriate and effective protective equipment. NOCSAE is evaluating the injury epidemiology for head and face injuries in the sport, that might inform headgear and/or faceguard performance requirements.

Update on Certification and Licensing

NOCSAE is the only sports standards organization that mandates third-party certification and specifies the level of compliance that must be demonstrated to receive such certification. Manufacturers must prove that the products they’re submitting for certification meet the NOCSAE standard to a 95% confidence level. Certification to NOCSAE standards is managed by the Safety Equipment Institute (SEI), an independent, ANSI/ISO 17065 accredited certifying body. NOCSAE continues to work with Safety Equipment Institute (SEI) to refine and enforce the certification process for all equipment subject to NOCSAE standards, and to take appropriate action to protect the integrity of NOCSAE standards.

More information on all NOCSAE standards is available at www.nocsae.org.

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