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NOCSAE Board of Directors Takes Action On Football and Baseball/Softball Equipment Standards

Date: 2/3/12

At the winter meeting of the NOCSAE Board of Directors -- held January 20-21 in Phoenix -- several sporting goods equipment issues were addressed by the NOCSAE Board of Directors.

In its most immediate decision, the NOCSAE Board voted to move the proposed Youth Football Helmet Standard to draft status. This decision will allow the NOCSAE Scientific Advisory Committee to continue to develop research to determine the needed parameters of a possible Youth Football Helmet Standard. The draft standard will be available to the public and concerned parties for review by request to the executive director or technical director of NOCSAE.

The Board of Directors also voted to move the proposed standard for a fielder’s helmet for baseball and softball to final status during this meeting. The standard for fielder’s helmets will go into effect in January of 2013. The development of the standard was requested by USA Baseball. Currently, neither the NCAA nor the NFHS will mandate the use of a fielder’s helmet for play in games they sanction. However, if a state federation, state conference or NCAA conference mandates the use of a fielder’s helmet, it must meet the NOCSAE specifications. The California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) may be the first state federation to mandate the use of a fielder’s helmet in games which it sanctions.

The NOCSAE standard for football gloves, which has been in development since 2007, is scheduled for implementation by the NFHS for the 2012/2013 season and for the 2013/2014 season by the NCAA. On behalf of its members, due to large amounts of inventory at the retail level, the SGMA and the NSGA have appealed to the NFHS to delay the implementation of the glove standard until the 2013/2014 season. A final decision on that request will be announced after an appeals hearing with the NFHS Board of Directors scheduled for February 8.

In other equipment related issues, NOCSAE is reviewing a request from US Lacrosse to develop a standard for protective headgear specific to women’s lacrosse. Based on protective requirements needed, NOCSAE's technical staff had not been able to develop a standard that meets the required criteria. NOCSAE is continuing discussions with US Lacrosse to develop this standard. Additionally, US Lacrosse asked ASTM to review the development of a standard for women's protective headgear. Also related to lacrosse, NOCSAE has determined most lacrosse balls are far more rigid than prescribed by the NOCSAE standard or by performance standards specified by the NCAA or US Lacrosse.  Due to tested helmet failures caused by ball impacts, NOCSAE will ask US Lacrosse, NFHS and the NCAA to mandate the NOCSAE standard for play. If the standard is not mandated, NOCSAE will consider revising the standard for lacrosse headgear to include protection from impacts delivered with the more rigid ball.

In another field sport, NOCSAE is reviewing the interaction of the field hockey ball and face protectors for field hockey, based on possible failures of face protectors when hit by balls.

All of the standards referenced in this release may be found at www.nocsae.org/standards/documents.html where they can be downloaded in PDF format. For additional information, please contact Mike Oliver, NOCSAE Executive Director, at 913-498-8814 or at mpo@orlawyers.net or Gregg Hartley, industry representative to the NOCSAE Board of Directors, at 561-543-7789 or at hartleyassociated@me.com.

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