Back in the late 90’s and early 2000’s when I played college lacrosse concussions weren’t really talked about and monitored like they are today.
I remember a few incidents – one where I took a crank to the dome from point blank range and another where I took a hard hit while outside the crease – where in retrospect I probably had at least a mild concussion. Yet I kept playing.
Today there’s tons of research showing just how negatively concussions affect the brain and other motor functions in athletes.
As a lacrosse goalie we are at risk of concussion. Players nowadays just shoot too hard and there’s a high probability that you’ll eventually take a shot off the helmet. Combine that with the fact that helmets these days are designed to be light and stylish versus bulky and protective.
Knowing how bad concussions affect our brain, as goalies we should be doing everything we can to prevent concussions.
Today we’ll review a device called the Lexi Shield that is built to help with that exact purpose – prevent concussions.
It’s something I wish I had back in my playing days and something I’d recommend every goalie wears during practice.
Let’s have a look.
Lexi Shield Introduction
For those unfamiliar with the Lexi Shield, it’s a piece of equipment that attaches to the visor part of your goalie helmet in the attempt to reduce impact to the brain from shots that hit your forehead.
It was invented by lacrosse coach and entrepreneur Hervie Lamb after he saw his All Conference First Team goalie (Lexi) get concussed several times from shots to the forehead.
Thus he invented the Lexi Shield.
Installation is fairly straight forward:
Remove the center face mask screw from the helmet.
Fit the shield on the helmet, aligning the screw hole for the best fit.
Attach the shield with one of the screws enclosed, using the longer screw to attach the shield through the upper hole; or the shorter screw through the lower hole.
The Lexi Shield is equipped to fit Cascades R and S and also CPVR or similar helmets.
Attach your shield to a Cascade R helmet – or similar helmet through the upper screw hole using the longer screw provided.
Or attach it to a Cascade-CPVR or similar helmet by using the lower screw hole and shorter screw provided.
Here’s the explainer video from the Lexi Shield site:
Lexi Shield Fit
The Lexi Shield does a great job of conforming around the helmet, with no movement on the helmet. I had mixed thoughts about how it’d feel, but once it’s properly installed on the helmet you don’t even notice it’s there.
Moving around in and out of the cage with the Lexi Shield also brought no extra difficulties as well. The protective piece did not shift at all and didn’t add any extra bulky weight to the helmet.
Finally, blocked vision wasn’t a factor either. Once installed properly you can’t really see the Lexi Shield and you actually forget its there.
The way it conforms around the helmet and the weight of the shield itself was surprisingly comfortable and didn’t affect my play in a negative way whatsoever.
Lexi Shield Design
Putting on the Lexi Shield was simple, and the installation time is about 5-10 minutes. It can be a bit difficult inserting the shield on the helmet itself, but once screwed on, it fits snug on the front of the helmet.
In terms of being aesthetically pleasing, I feel like it could look a bit better. However, when it comes to safety products, especially in the realm of preventing concussions, it isn’t often we’d see a sleek design for that use.
This of course isn’t to say redesigns wouldn’t be a horrible idea. I would even argue that some players wouldn’t wear such a device if it didn’t look good. Concepts of possibly making the Lexi Shield thinner I think would help the aesthetics, of course as long as it didn’t take away from the safety of the product.
Now, its actual design does a great job of covering the area above the facemask great. I liked personally how the shield wraps a bit, just in case the shot slides of the side of the helmet, you’ll still be protected.
The Lexi Shield costs $29.95 + $4.49 shipping. You can get it on Amazon here.
Under $30 for a piece of equipment that helps prevent concussions while not impacting performance is a no brainer in my opinion.
I personally see that price being rather low, considering the amount of protection it offers and the lack of competition for similar protective devices.
The only other device I know of that services this same protective function is the Guardian Cap which looks more like a rugby headgear and is definitely not as conspicuous as the Lexi Shield.
The Guardian Cap is also more expensive at $46 + $10 shipping.
If you’ve had a prior concussion and/or are worried about them, or just want a piece of added safety to increase your confidence in goal with, the Lexi Shield is almost a no-brainer.
So the million dollar question – does the Lexi Shield actually prevent concussions?
The Lexi Shield team commissioned an independent study which showed that the forehead impact from an 80 mph shot was reduced 65% when using the Lexi Shield.
It that enough to prevent a concussion. I have no idea. But a 65% reduction in the force of a blow to the forehead will definitely go a long way towards preventing damage.
Like the crazy goalie I am I wanted to feel this reduction in impact myself. Especially since high school and college players in today’s game have no problem reaching triple digits with their crank shots.
Despite the apparent lack of testing of faster shots, I still can account for the Lexi Shield itself doing a great job at protecting my dome. Through a few practices and shot sessions, I took a few dome shots and really felt a difference.
The feeling was like having your helmet being a few inches thicker, but not having the weight that would come with it. I was pleased with how it performed in actually being a safety device, which should be the most important area.
Lexi Shield Final Thoughts
Awhile back I wrote a post about lacrosse goalie inventions that need to happen. One item I suggested was a “lacrosse goalie helmet” that would rid goalies of concussions.
Implementing the Lexi Shield into a standard Cascade S helmet would be a great start. That way goalies could enjoy the added frontal dome protection and since Cascade is dedicated to style it would probably look amazing as well.
Another thing about the Lexi Shield – it’s unclear to me if these things are legal to wear during games or not.
The rulebook doesn’t directly address helmet add-ons in any way. However NOCSAE, the group which certifies all protective helmets, has stated that any helmet additions sold separately where deemed to nullify that helmet’s certification.
An interesting position given that technically the throat guard is a helmet addition.
The rulebook does state that the goalie’s protective equipment should be form fitting meaning it doesn’t take up additional space like field hockey goalie shin guards. The Lexi Shield does exactly that with its form fitting shape.
So my guess is officials would let you play with the Lexi Shield during a game however always confirm with them pre-game to ensure you don’t draw yourself any unnecessary penalties.
If your team uses black or dark colored helmets you can hardly even tell the Lexi Shield is there.
Concussions are a serious matter and I think goalies, coaches, and parents should be taking every precaution to eliminate them for their goalies.
In that context, strapping on a Lexi Shield for practices is really a no-brainer. It helps prevent concussions, it’s not visible or even noticeable so it doesn’t impact a goalie’s save ability and it costs just $30.
The look definitely sticks out especially on lighter colored helmets so the physical design could use some work but as for functionality, the design is brilliant. It fits around the unprotected area above the face mask perfectly, giving you optimal protection.
We’re starting to see prominent lacrosse programs like Syracuse require their goalies to use extra head protection during practice:
I think we’ll see a trend of more goalies and coaches requiring additional protection for their goalies during practice. Then it’s only a matter of time before Cascade or Warrior implements the Lexi Shield into their helmet to produce a lacrosse goalie helmet.
If you’re looking for a cheap method of protecting yourself from concussions, pick a Lexi Shield on Amazon.
Until next time! Coach Damon
Anything I missed in this Lexi Shield review? Leave me a comment down below.
Lacrosse is my passion! The game has given me so much and this blog is my way of giving back to the lax community. Specifically the most bad a$$ part of that community - the goalies! After learning to play goalie from scratch, I wanted to create a site where I could share what I learned with others so they too can become champions in the crease and in life. Learn more about Coach Damon.