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NOCSAE Voids Two Helmet Certifications

NOCSAE Voids Two Helmet Warranties! This is HUGE news, and it’s totally confusing, for a number of reasons. Let’s dig into this new NOCSAE issue headfirst!

NOCSAE Voids Two Lacrosse Helmets!

This is HUGE news, and it’s totally confusing, for a number of reasons. Let’s dig into this new NOCSAE issue headfirst!

NOCSAE has put out an announcement to US Lacrosse and US Lacrosse has sent this announcement (you can see the full announcement below) out to their media lists. The announcement says that both the Cascade R lacrosse helmet and the Warrior Regulator lacrosse helmet do not pass the NOCSAE helmet standard, ND041.

ND041 relates to three things: labels, helmet stability/retention testing (chin cups), and impact attenuation – drop test.

Here is a brief description of what is going on from US Lacrosse’s press release:

NOCSAE’s public statement, available in its entirety at www.nocsae.org, says that the organization made its determination following an independent investigation and evaluation of the two helmets, including a review of each manufacturer’s internal testing and quality control data. As a result, NOCSAE has invalidated the manufacturer’s certification of compliance for all manufacturing dates for the two helmet models.

So how does this impact us, the players?

Playing rules written by US Lacrosse, the NCAA and the NFHS (National Federation of State High School Associations) mandate that all helmets must meet NOCSAE standards and be NOCSAE certified. Both models had previously been certified by the manufacturers as compliant with the NOCSAE standard.

Basically, the above paragraph says that RIGHT NOW, you can’t use a Cascade R or Warrior Regulator in a game where US Lacrosse rules are used. USL requires helmets to be NOCSAE compliant.

It should be noted that NOCSAE has reached out to Cascade and Warrior with this info.

Currently, it is unknown if Cascade and Warrior will be able to get their NOCSAE certifications back before the season starts. A statement on NOCSAE’s website said that both companies will work towards this goal of getting re-certified. Cascade also put up an announcement on their website and Warrior issued one that states:

Warrior Sports, Inc. has received notification from the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE) that the Warrior Regulator lacrosse helmet no longer complies with the applicable NOCSAE standards.  We disagree with and are disappointed in NOCSAE’s decision.  Warrior has always been committed to the highest safety standards for our products.  Warrior’s Regulator helmet has passed numerous safety tests performed by ICS, an independent, certified and fully-accredited lab.  ICS continues to stand behind those results and has repeatedly confirmed that the Regulator helmet meets all applicable NOCSAE standards, which applies to all Regulator helmets currently in the marketplace. Warrior is working with NOCSAE to clarify the concerns and find resolution quickly on behalf of our brand’s loyal customers and consumers.

The issue of NOCSAE certification came up a short while ago when STX released a study on their new helmet, the Stallion. The Cascade R helmet was shown as failing a number of tests by the STX test. While I didn’t see how a helmet could pass one year, and then not pass the next, NOCSAE is not having that issue evidently.

Last year, NOCSAE approved the Cascade R and Warrior Regulator helmets. This year, after an independent review, the two helmets did not pass the testing.

Well, evidently, NOCSAE testing works like this: NOCSAE lays out their testing procedures. Companies then test their own helmets. If they say their product meets the NOCSAE standards, they can put a NOCSAE sticker on their helmets. And that’s about it!

I find it SHOCKING that a certification agency, like NOCSAE, would take such a hands off approach to helmet and safety testing. By their own logic, they allowed a non-compliant helmet to be used in high school and college lacrosse for over a FULL year before they actually tested a helmet. Is that crazy or what? I’ll tell you now. It’s crazy, and bordering on negligent.

The testing standards group allowed helmets to be certified, and to use the NOCSAE name, and they had NO IDEA if the products were actually safe? Kind of makes you wonder if a NOCSAE certification actually means anything at all…

We should ALL keep our eyes on this situation closely for a number of reasons. If Cascade and Warrior can’t get their helmets certified under NOCSAE again there are going to be a LOT of teams buying new helmets. If those helmets don’t get approved again we could even see the sport shrink due to a lack of available gear. Companies will be stuck with useless stock, and the ripples will be felt for years.

Now I am not saying that NOCSAE should approve these helmets just so the sport can grow. What I’m saying is this: NOCSAE should do its job a whole lot better. Currently, companies do their own testing, NOCSAE relies on STX studies to find flaws in competitor’s helmets, AND they let two non-passing helmets be used for at least a full season of play.

Maybe the Cascade and Warrior helmets really are dangerous… and maybe NOCSAE just needs to step their game up a number of levels. I’m glad that safety is being put first here, but more than anything, this information has really docked my faith in NOCSAE in general.

Full US Lacrosse Press Release:

US Lacrosse, the national governing body for men’s and women’s lacrosse, has been notified by NOCSAE (National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment) that two lacrosse helmet models currently available in the marketplace — the Cascade Model R and the Warrior Regulator — do not meet the NOCSAE helmet standard, ND041.

NOCSAE’s public statement, available in its entirety at www.nocsae.org, says that the organization made its determination following an independent investigation and evaluation of the two helmets, including a review of each manufacturer’s internal testing and quality control data. As a result, NOCSAE has invalidated the manufacturer’s certification of compliance for all manufacturing dates for the two helmet models.

Playing rules written by US Lacrosse, the NCAA and the NFHS (National Federation of State High School Associations) mandate that all helmets must meet NOCSAE standards and be NOCSAE certified. Both models had previously been certified by the manufacturers as compliant with the NOCSAE standard.

NOCSAE’s statement adds that both Cascade and Warrior have been notified of these conclusions by NOCSAE, and have indicated that they are working to address the issue.

Consumers seeking further information about these two helmet models are advised to contact the manufacturers directly: Cascade (1-800-537-1702); Warrior (1-800-968-7845).

Full NOCSAE Release:

The National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment has voided the manufacturers’ NOCSAE® certification for the Warrior Regulator and the Cascade Model R lacrosse helmets.

A product manufacturer certifies compliance with NOCSAE® standards when it puts the NOCSAE® name and logo
on a helmet. The certification tells the player, parent, coach and the governing bodies that the helmet has been subjected to all of the required testing, quality control and quality assurance obligations specified by the NOCSAE standard. The manufacturer must confirm that its helmet meets the standard in all aspects.

The Warrior Regulator and the Cascade Model R had been certified by the manufacturers as compliant with the NOCSAE® standard. NOCSAE® conducted an independent investigation and evaluation of the Warrior Regulator and the Cascade Model R, which included a review of each manufacturer’s internal certification testing and quality control data. NOCSAE® also purchased these models independently through various retail sources and sent them to its contracted laboratory for testing.

As a result of its investigation, NOCSAE® has concluded that these models, for all manufacturing dates, do not comply with the NOCSAE® standard ND041 and that the manufacturers’ certifications of compliance on those  helmets is invalid.

NOCSAE® has contacted each manufacturer and advised them of its conclusions.

The rules of play for lacrosse as provided by US Lacrosse, National Collegiate Athletic Association, National  Federation of State High School Associations and other organizations mandate that lacrosse helmets meet the NOCSAE® standard. NOCSAE has advised them of its conclusions and anticipates that each organization will notify its members of this decision.

NOCSAE® has been advised that Warrior and Cascade are working to address this issue, and it is anticipated that
each will develop a procedure to assist players and teams who use these models.

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