As of January 1st, 2020 New Chest Protectors are Required for High School (NFHS) Baseball and beginning January 1st, 2021 Required for NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) Baseball.
No Changes are being made for Fastpitch Softball or Youth Baseball (Little League, USSSA, etc.)
NOCSAE Approved Chest Protectors will have the following logo on them.
Why is this change happening? Commotio Cordis.
Commotio Cordis is a syndrome that results from a blunt impact to the chest that leads to cardiac arrest. It is a poorly recognized and under reported event that happens to healthy young athletes as a result of a low-energy (roughly a 40mph baseball), non-penetrating blow to the chest.
Commotio cordis does not result solely from the force of a blow. The impact must also occur in a very narrow and specific window of time in the heart’s cycle. In other words, this is a very rare, but very serious occurrence.
NOCSAE has developed a new standard for baseball chest protectors based on research which shows that reducing the force of an impact below defined thresholds can significantly reduce the risk of commotio cordis. More information about the testing can be found on the NOCSAE Website.
The first organization to adopt the standards was the NFHS followed by the NCAA. Both will require that all new catcher’s chest protectors used after January 1, 2020 must meet the NOCSAE standard.
Many manufacturers have already had their new NOCSAE Chest Protectors on the market for some time and more are coming! There are other options as well if you do not want to buy a new chest protector. Rawlings has a piece that straps around an existing Protector and EvoShield has a new NOCSAE approved undershirt.
Chest Protectors are now joining Catcher's and Batting Helmets that all have to meet NOCSAE approval to be used.
If you are looking to purchase new catcher’s gear for the new season, look for either of the above NOCSAE-certified logo or filter for the NOCSAE Certification on our catcher’s gear page.