NOCSAE & USA Lacrosse Team Up Against Life-threatening Commotio Cordis

How the new NOCSAE standard to protect against commotio cordis saves lives

What is commotio cordis?

Commotio cordis is a life-threatening sports injury. It can happen when a player is struck in the chest by a lacrosse ball or stick, sending the player into a sudden cardiac crisis. Commotio cordis can affect athletes of any age. Looking across all sports, 15-25 athletes die every year from commotio cordis—most are under the age of 18. Players, parents, and coaches need to know how to safeguard against it.

What did NOCSAE do about the problem?

We funded groundbreaking research to find out how to protect against commotio cordis — collaborating with USA Lacrosse and the Louis J. Acompora Memorial Foundation. NOCSAE used discoveries from this research to develop and publish a performance standard. This standard describes the most effective kind of chest protector for athletes. Companies that make and sell lacrosse chest protectors follow this standard to make and test their products. NOCSAE committed over 2 million dollars to the commotio cordis research that ultimately led to an effective chest protector. Read the full standard developed by NOCSAE.

Want to know more about standards and how they are used in the sports industry? Take a deeper dive here.

What did USA Lacrosse do about the problem?

USA Lacrosse was the first governing body to mandate the NOCSAE standard. USA Lacrosse now requires all goalies in girls’ and boys’ lacrosse to wear protectors that meet the standard. In 2022, the rule will extend to all field players in boys’ lacrosse. Compliance with the standard will enhance player safety and help prevent catastrophic injuries. The NCAA and NFHS also require the NOCSAE standard.

What can I do about the problem?

Players, parents, and coaches can make sure their lacrosse gear meets the ND200 NOCSAE Performance Standard to Protect Against Commotio Cordis. Here’s a list of gear certified to our standard on the Safety Equipment Institute (SEI) website. Also read about the push to make AEDs (automated external defibrillators) available on playing fields. AEDs are the second line of defense against commotio cordis.


NOCSAE, the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment, is an independent and nonprofit standards development body with the mission to commission research, establish standards for athletic equipment and encourage the dissemination of research findings on sport injury and prevention. Formed in 1970, NOCSAE is a leading force in the effort to improve athletic equipment and, as a result, reduce injuries. NOCSAE efforts include the development of performance and test standards for football helmets, gloves and facemasks, baseball and softball batter’s and catcher’s helmets, baseballs and softballs, ice hockey helmets, soccer shin guards, lacrosse helmets and facemasks, and polo helmets. NOCSAE is comprised of a board of directors representing stakeholders from a number of groups – including consumer and end users, equipment manufacturers and reconditioners, athletic trainers, coaches, equipment managers, and academic and sports medicine associations. These diverse interests have joined forces in an attempt to arrive at a common goal of reducing sports-related injuries. NOCSAE is a nonprofit, charitable organization supported by individuals and organizations with an interest in athletics. For more information, please visit