NOCSAE Summer Standards Meeting Update: NOCSAE Reports Progress on Youth Football Helmet Standard and the Redesign of Nine Array Headforms

The National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE) convened its Summer Meeting on July 22 in Portland, Oregon, welcoming remote and in-person attendees. The meeting included reports from the Scientific Advisory Committee chair on the latest understanding of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) and the research director on injuries in non-tackle youth football. The Standards Committee also took voting action on revisions and modifications for the Commotio Cordis Test Method Standard and the Proposed Youth Football Helmet Performance Standard. The technical director also shared an update on the redesign of NOCSAE’s nine array headforms.

Scientific Advisory Committee Report

Dr. Robert Cantu, MA, MD, FACS, FACSM, FAANS, NOCSAE vice president, chair of the Scientific Advisory Committee and representative of the American College of Sports Medicine, shared a report on the latest understanding of CTE. The report examined new research efforts to diagnose CTE in the living through a multiyear collaboration that includes international clinical experts and research institutions. A breakthrough in diagnosing CTE in living persons would allow clinicians to advance clinical trials for treatment. If successful, this could help detect the disease earlier in its course and provide a path to prevention.

NOCSAE Research

As part of NOCSAE’s mission to enhance athletic safety through scientific research, the board of directors oversees a long-standing formal Research Grant Funding program. In 2021, NOCSAE added a targeted research function that solicits Requests for Proposals on specific topics of immediate interest. NOCSAE patterns its research grant funding program on the NIH model and has awarded over $13 million toward research since 1994. In January 2022, the board unanimously voted to reactivate the small grants program to fund research under $50,000. More information about NOCSAE research programs and current opportunities to submit grant applications is available here.
In 2021, former NOCSAE board member, Kim D. Barber Foss PhD ATC, was appointed to the role of NOCSAE Research Director. Dr. Barber Foss has published extensively in the areas of injury epidemiology, biomechanics and brain injury, and has 29 years of experience as a certified athletic trainer. She is currently an associate research scientist at the Emory University Sports Performance and Research Center and earned her PhD in Health Science earlier this year. At the Summer Standards Committee Meeting, Dr. Barber Foss presented key findings from her dissertation, An Epidemiological Assessment of Youth Flag Football Injuries. The study examines injuries in flag football, which is often promoted as a safer alternative to tackle football. Dr. Barber Foss found that while injuries in flag football are less frequent than tackle football, they are still not without consequence. The research findings are helping to inform the Standards Committee’s ongoing evaluation of the need for a headgear standard for non-tackle football.

Procedures for Adoption and Implementation of NOCSAE Standards

As an American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Accredited Standards Developer, NOCSAE standards adoption procedures follow the ANSI Essential Requirements due process to insure fairness, transparency and consensus.

All NOCSAE standards follow the following development path: 1) Draft, 2) Proposed and 3) Final Document. Public input on NOCSAE standards is welcomed and encouraged at every step of the process, in accordance with ANSI requirements. Changes to NOCSAE standards are classified as modifications or revisions.

  • Modifications include minor document changes that do not affect the pass/fail of a product and are effective immediately following a vote of the Standards Committee. Modifications do not require a vote of the Standards Committee.
  • Revisions are substantive changes that may affect the pass/fail status of a product.

More information about the NOCSAE standards adoption and implementation procedures is available here.

Standards Updates

  • Commotio Cordis Test Method (ND200-22m22)
    • Modification: The Standards Committee acknowledged a modification to replace a test surrogate illustration that was inadvertently removed from the document.
  • Change to Proposed Youth Football Helmet Performance Standard (ND006-21)
    • Changes: The Standards Committee approved two changes including:
      • Change to Section 7.2 that clarifies the pneumatic ram test equipment should be used for testing, consistent with ND081 Section 6.13.
      • Changed the pneumatic ram pass/fail test criteria from 2,000 rad/s² to 5,000 rad/s² based on input from the Scientific Advisory Committee and the Southern Impact Research Center testing of current youth models.
    • Round Robin Testing: The technical director shared that youth-specific ram equipment is available for manufacturers to order to replace the current Biokinetics equipment. Parties interested in participating in the round robin should order equipment from the technical director. To do so, please contact estordahl@soimpact.com or emccalley@soimpact.com.

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 the impedance and harmonics caused by 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. At the Summer Standards Committee Meeting, the technical director provided an update on the status of the new headforms and next steps for testing. The design of the headforms had to be updated over the last year since several of the materials used in the original headforms are no longer available. In the last few months, the technical director has received one headform in each size with the new materials and has begun preliminary validation testing. Testing will continue in the coming months, and the technical director will provide a report at the 2023 Winter Standards Committee Meeting.

Potential Non-Tackle Football Headgear Standard

The Standards Committee continues to evaluate the potential development of a non-tackle football helmet standard. The Committee is considering the range of non-contact football sports, from flag football to 7v7, and evaluating potential options for a protective equipment standard. Key considerations include how best to protect against facial injuries, whether a soft or hard helmet is appropriate, and if the helmet should be designed for single impact or multi-impacts.

Interested parties are invited to submit comments and questions to NOCSAE Executive Director Mike Oliver at mike.oliver@nocsae.org. Information about all NOCSAE standards and future Standards Committee meetings is available at nocsae.org. The next NOCSAE Standards Committee Meeting will be held in Litchfield Park, Arizona, on Jan. 27, 2023.

NOCSAE Welcomes New Research Director Kim Barber Foss

Kim D. Barber Foss, MS, LAT, ATC, CCRP brings with her a passion for innovative research and a clear vision for her new role as she succeeds outgoing Research Director, Frederick O. Mueller, Ph.D., Emeritus Professor, UNC-CH. Barber Foss has published extensively in the areas of injury epidemiology, biomechanics, and brain injury and has 29 years’ experience as a certified athletic trainer. She is an associate research scientist at the Emory University Sports Performance and Research Center (SPARC), which utilizes a lab-to-field research approach to sports injury in young athletes. Barber Foss also spent fifteen years as a Senior Research Assistant in the Sports Medicine Division at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital where she was involved with biomechanics, epidemiology, and concussion research and was director of the Brain Network Activation Lab.

More about the research director position

The research director position oversees NOCSAE’s Grant Program, which has underwritten more than $13 million dollars in research over the past 50 years. As research director, Barber Foss will chair NOCSAE’s Grant Review Committee, co-chair the Request for Proposal Committee and hold a seat on the Scientific Advisory Committee. Barber Foss has relinquished the NOCSAE board position, which she held for four years as the representative from the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA), to assume the duties of her new leadership position.

More about Barber Foss

Barber Foss’s further experience includes her role as the coordinator for the National High School Sports Injury Registry, which was a large-scale NATA project. She currently serves on the NATA COPA Analytics and Outcomes Committee.

Barber Foss’s honors include the 2018 Gatorade Secondary School Athletic Trainer of the Year District 4, 2019 NATA Service Award, 2020 NATA Most Distinguished Athletic Trainer Award, and 2020 NATA Secondary School Athletic Trainer of the Year award District 4.  She was also selected as the 2019 Girl Scouts of Western Ohio Woman of Distinction.

New NOCSAE, NAERA Video Addresses Sports Equipment Reconditioning and Recertification

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (January, 2021) ― In December 2020, NOCSAE’s executive director Mike Oliver visited with Bob Fawley, president of the National Equipment Reconditioning Association (NAERA), and Tony Beam, executive director of NAERA, for a webcast discussing sports equipment reconditioning and recertification.

The video, which can be found here, addresses questions about the sports equipment recertification and reconditioning process, with an added look at the significance of the process today and during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The presentation is the first in a series of educational materials NOCSAE will be showcasing in 2021 to better inform all stakeholders, including athletes, parents, coaches, retailers and others about NOCSAE and its efforts and achievements in sports equipment safety, scientific research and the creation of performance standards for athletic equipment.

 

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.

Standards Committee to Meet Jan. 31, 2020

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (December 2019) ― The NOCSAE Standards committee will meet Jan 31, 2020 in Phoenix, Ariz. to discuss research findings from the NOCSAE Scientific Advisory Committee, and to consider revisions and proposed new standards. Here is a link to the agenda for the meeting.

The committee will consider this revision to ND022 – the Standard Performance Specification for Newly Manufactured Baseball/Softball Batter’s Helmets. A vote will also be held on ND006, the submitted Standard Performance Specification for Newly Manufactured Youth Football Helmets, which will be discussed and voted upon as a “Proposed New” standard.

 

NOCSAE Issues Warning About Counterfeit Lacrosse Balls

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (March 7, 2019) – The National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment, NOCSAE is warning lacrosse players, coaches and teams to use caution when purchasing lacrosse balls online.

NOCSAE is taking aggressive steps to stop the sale of counterfeit lacrosse balls by multiple illegitimate vendors, primarily on the Internet. In recent months, NOCSAE has worked with Amazon, GoDaddy and other online shopping platforms to shut down vendors selling lacrosse balls that have not been certified to the NOCSAE standard.

“Without proper testing and certification to the NOCSAE standard, these counterfeit lacrosse balls could pose safety risks for players,” said NOCSAE Executive Director Mike Oliver. “Consumers should also be aware that many of the counterfeit lacrosse balls appear to have the proper NOCSAE and Safety Equipment Institute (SEI) logos, but the vendors in question are not registered licensees and the balls fail to meet the NOCSAE standard.”

Consumers should not rely solely on the presence of on-ball marking to assess whether lacrosse balls meet the NOCSAE standard. To ensure these products have been certified to the NOCSAE standard, NOCSAE recommends checking the name of the manufacturer and the ball model against the certified product list available on the Safety Equipment Institute (SEI) website (www.seinet.org).

US Lacrosse, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) require that all balls used in lacrosse games meet the NOCSAE standard to help protect players from potential safety risks. In addition, all three governing bodies strongly encourage the use of balls that meet the NOCSAE standard for all practice games. The NOCSAE standard for newly manufactured lacrosse balls includes specifications and performance requirements related to weight, density, size and other quality controls.

NOCSAE will continue to provide updates on this issue as new information becomes available. More information on all NOCSAE standards is available at www.nocsae.org.