Bookmark and Share

Standardization News Search
Tech News
Committee on Sports Equipment Working to Improve Body Protection for Lacrosse Players

Following the accidental death of a Cornell University lacrosse player during a game last spring, the lacrosse community has stepped up efforts to improve the chest protectors currently worn by players. ASTM International Committee F08 on Sports Equipment and Facilities has contributed to these efforts by developing a new proposed standard, WK5747, Specification for Body Protectors Used in Lacrosse. The new proposed standard is under the jurisdiction of Subcommittee F08.55 on Body Padding.

John Masone, a member of ASTM Subcommittee F08.66 on Sport Facilities, approached the body padding subcommittee to write a standard on lacrosse. Since subcommittee member Michael Pilato, certified athletic trainer, Charles Cole Memorial Hospital, had been doing some background research on the Cornell accident, he agreed to work with Masone on the proposed standard. Masone and Pilato have approached representatives of US Lacrosse, who will be working with the subcommittee on the standard.

Pilato says that it is not clear at this point in the standard’s development exactly what the practical applications of it will be, but he says, “we would like to change players’ attitudes toward wearing torso protectors. A single garment used by both field players and goalies would be ideal.” He notes that preliminary testing of a new lacrosse-specific procedure is under way and that a prototype design is being tested.

The padding subcommittee’s task group on lacrosse chest protectors will address the important issue of reducing the risk of comotio cordis—a cardiac arrest induced when a direct blow to the chest coincides with a specific, brief window in the heart’s cycle. The developers of chest protection standards must work with relatively limited knowledge of this rare but catastrophic syndrome. “While this phenomenon has been identified and studied to some degree, the dynamics of these impacts and clear limits on the ‘danger zone’ are still emerging,” says Pilato. A better understanding of comotio cordis is expected to lead to improved chest protection standards for other sports, as well as lacrosse.

For further technical information, contact Mike Pilato, Charles Cole Memorial Hospital, Coudersport, Pa. (phone: 585/933-0099) or John Masone, Town of Hempstead Recreation Department, Hempstead, N.Y. (phone: 516/292-9000 ext. 284). Committee F08 meets Nov. 9-12 during the November Committee Week in Washington, D.C. For membership or meeting details, contact Jim Olshefsky, ASTM International (phone: 610/832-9714). //

Copyright 2004, ASTM International