New Lacrosse Goalie Chest Protector Rule in 2021 | Lax Goalie Rat

New Lacrosse Goalie Chest Protector Rule in 2021


Real quick – I wrote this post in 2019. Here is my post for an updated list of approved NOCSAE lacrosse goalie chest pads.

Last week I posted my review of the new Maverik Rome chest pad.

Rightfully so, many of you asked if this chest pad was approved for the new rule change passed by US Lacrosse.

What rule change you ask? Let’s back up.

Because unlike this rule change, the one I’m about to outline is very real.

US Lacrosse Approves Chest Protector Rule Change

Among the 2019 rule changes introduced by US lacrosse was a change meant to ensure that goalies were not using faulty chest protectors.

The rule changes will be included in the 2019 US Lacrosse Boys’ and Girls’ Field Lacrosse rulebooks.

The rule change was implemented to reduce the risk of a rare yet deadly injury called commotio cordis.

In layman’s terms, Commotio cordis, is a heart rhythm disruption caused by a blow to the chest, i.e. a shot, and causes the heart to stop beating resulting in sudden cardiac death if not immediately treated with AED device.

Before the goalie moms and dads freakout and ban their kid from playing goalie, understand that this is extremely rare – according to NOCSAE approximately 5-15 athletes (of all sports) die each year from commotio cordis.

Yet we should applaud US Lacrosse for making this rule change to ensure that it never happens to even 1 goalie.

The rule change was approved in 2019 but doesn’t go into effect until 2021 for US Lacrosse boys’ and girls’ youth field lacrosse which will allow lacrosse manufacturers to get the right approvals needed for their chest protectors.

Here is the exact line from the rulebook which will apply for both boys and girls:

*Note: Beginning in 2021, only a goalkeeper chest protector designed for lacrosse that incorporates the NOCSAE ND200 will be legal for play and shall contain an SEI certification mark.

Additionally, in boys lacrosse only, by 2022 all field players must have heart protection as well:

* Note: Beginning in 2022, field players must wear protectors for commotio cordis that meet the NOCSAE ND200 standard and contain an SEI certification mark

I think that means we’ll start to see shoulder pads that have the additional heart protection in the 2022 season.

Chest Protectors Meeting NOCSAE Standard

Many of the top chest protectors in the game already include the additional protective piece that meets the NOCSAE standard.

In fact, even the old STX chest protector I played with in my college days in 2003 had an additional plate over the heart that gave me this protection.

That said, all the lacrosse chest protector manufacturers will need to submit their products for testing in order to receive the SEI certification mark.

To check the list of approved chest protectors, you can go to this site:

Then select program = NOCSAE: Chest Protectors (Lacrosse) (ND200-17a).


At the time of this writing the only approved chest pad is the Warrior Nemesis:

Edit: Here are the list of now approved chest protectors as December 29, 2020. And the Warrior Nemesis is no longer on there??

You basically have just 5 chest protectors to choose from (top center Warrior Nemesis is now no longer approved):

Here they are:

Edit: The following chest pads are now NOCSAE approved:

I think all other manufacturers are still working to get their proper approvals before 2021.

Most modern chest pads – like the Maverik Rome I reviewed last week – contain the reinforced chest plate and protection that helps reduce the chance of commotio cordis however it is NOT on the list of approved chest pads.

Even the Warrior Nemesis Pro – the sequel to the Warrior Nemesis – isn’t on the list yet. But you can clearly see the additional protection over the heart that this chest pad provides.

Edit: This chest pad is now approved.

So I think for the majority the chest protectors available, it’s a question of getting the official certification, not a question of having to redo the entire chest protector’s design to help prevent the commotio cordis.

For example, there’s a company called Unequal which makes a goalie chest pad called the Hart. It’s specifically designed with reinforced heart protection and yet it is NOT on the list of approved chesties yet. Head scratcher. I reached out to Unequal to see what was going on but never heard back.

Edit: this chest pad is now NOCSAE approved as of Jan 2022.

If your goalie is using a chest pad from circa 1990 then we may have a problem. But if they’re using a newer version, odds are they’ll be ok.

The thing that’s still unknown for me is exactly how referees will enforce this new rule.

Does the chest protector get an additional sticker if it appears on this approved list? Or does simply being on the list justify the chest pad’s legality?

During the 2021 USA LaxCon, PLL and top NCAA official Matt Palumb (also an outstanding goalie at Syracuse btw) said that it the responsibility of coaches and goalies to ensure they’re playing with legally certified gear.

So according to him, refs will not be lifting up jerseys to check for certified chesties. It’s on us as goalies, parents, and coaches.

When will remaining chest pads get approved? No clue. There’s a quite a few chest protectors for goalies and I imagine it takes a quite a while to finish official testing of each.


US lacrosse passed a new rule regarding chest protectors that takes effect in January 2021.

Each goalie chest pad must be SEI certified which is done to ensure the goalie has the additional heart protection that help reduce a rare case of getting hit in the chest at the wrong time and having the heart stop.

By the following year even field players will need heart protection so good on US lacrosse for continuing to preach player safety. Now – what about goalie concussions?

So far only 5 chest protectors have received the approval from NOCSAE so for the 2021 season be sure you’re using one of these 5 chesties (edit: there are now 7 approved):

Until next time! Coach Damon

Any questions about this new rule for goalie chest protectors? Leave me a comment down below. 


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33 thoughts on “New Lacrosse Goalie Chest Protector Rule in 2021

  1. So, interesting…what you are saying by 2022 even female field players will need chest protection, that kinda implies changing the girls game…. all this and they have been resistant always to making it mandatory to wear helmets for the girls game?

    1. That field player addition actually only applies to the boys game. Should have made that clearer. But you’re right it is strange to see which battles they choose to pick. I guess safety is trending in right direction. But why not make all teh right changes at once

      1. At this point out daughter in goal has been wearing a hockey chest protector with the ridged shoulder pads, when you say specifically designed for lacrosse will that mean only STX or similar product that indicates on the equipment “lacrosse”? Seems like hockey players have been padded for years against this injury.

        1. Hi Eric – From my understanding to be used, the chest pad would need to go through this SEI certification. Since it’s ice hockey gear they may have a similar certification process in place as ice hockey goalies are at the same risk commotia cordis. I’m not sure tho to be honest. Without the certification goalies wouldn’t be able to use the pad, even tho it has the right protection. That’s my understanding.

  2. There is a lot of debate about whether even the Nemesis is “actually” approved for Commotio Cordis purposes. I did some research on this to help protect our young goalie and was told that the standard had would not be approved until February 2019 (now approved) and the Nemesis was on the list well before the standard was approved. And the Nemesis (to my knowledge) does not have the “seal” showing it is approved. Further, even if approved, it is too large for many youth goalies to wear (small is not on the approved list).

    Many of the chest protectors with “extra heart cushion” will not/may not meet the standard….that is my understanding.

    While nothing is perfect, until there is some verified equipment available, I have our young goalie wearing a stand alone heart pad, under his chest protector. This product was developed by Dr Mark Link, one of the experts and lead researchers on Commotio Cordis prevention. Dr Link has been at the forefront on this issue.

    I am happy to post a link, but not sure you want that on your site. If Ok, I am happy to post it or give it you offline for you to review

    1. Hey Tim! Thanks for adding this! Interesting about the Nemesis – didn’t know that.

      Please send me the link to the stand alone heart pad you’re using- I’d love to check that out. I’ll probably end up included it in this post as I’m sure it’ll be helpful to all goalies.

  3. Hey coach. im a JV goalie from tennessee that loves your blog and i was wondering if it had to have internal heart protection like the nemesis and rome or can it have external protection like my current pad, the low budget brine money. thanks, Jaxon

    1. When the new rule goes live, the chest protector will have to be certified (and will have a seal) as Commotio Cordis compliant.

      1. They have these goalie Shield CP’s listed as the new STX CP’s that pass the NOCSAE standard:

        STX, LLC
        Brand Name Model Number Size/Class/Configuration
        STX Shield 400 Men’s Lacrosse Goalie Chest Protector; Sizes Small, Medium and Large
        STX Shield 600 Men’s Lacrosse Goalie Chest Protector; Sizes Medium, Large and Xlarge
        STX Shield 200 Men’s Lacrosse Goalie Chest Protector; Sizes Small, Medium and Large

        These must be new products yet to be released as I can’t find those anywhere, including on STX’s website.

  4. Coach Damon,
    This rule change all came about from the unfortunate death of Louis Acopmora on March 25th, 2000, he was only 14 years old. His parents pushed many years for this. They had “Louis’ Law” passed in New York State which made it mandatory to have an AED’s in schools and at all games at New York State Schools. Over 100 lives have been saved because of their work. All students are also required to take CPR with AED training.
    Please read his story at

      1. I’m really disappointed with the protection if offers, seems high quality but I don’t like how unprotected I feel wearing it. I don’t hate it but I don’t like it, a lot of goalies in my area use the brine king so I may have to switch to that but who knows.

  5. I’m getting ready to purchase a new chest protector for my goalie daughter. Looking at Warrior Nemesis Pro and Maverick MAX EKG; both appear to have the certification for the new rule. Can you provide a review for those that are now approved? Thanks!

  6. is this chest protector approved, if not do you think there will be any problem?? STX Lacrosse Women’s Sultra Goalie Chest Protector

  7. Coach, my son is 10 and has been playing for a few years…he is using the STX Agent. He settled on it because it gives him an all in one (shoulder, chest and lower abdominal protection) and he is still completely mobile. We have checked out the 200 and 400 from STX and the Nemisis Pro. They offer little to no protection for the shoulder and abdominal area. When adding a shoulder/chest protecting pad, it becomes ridiculously bulky…any suggestions? I understand why they want to protect these kids, but in doing so, it seems they remove other protections…a 60 or 70+MPH ball to the shoulder socket is not good for these kids.

    1. Hey Michael, I’ve never used the STX Agent but it does look great for the shoulder protection. Surprised it hasn’t been commotio cordis approved, doesn’t it have reinforced chest protection? Maybe some more approvals are coming soon. The Unequal chest pad which definitely protects against commotio cordis isn’t even approved yet. Unequal also has 2 other products including this heart pad and this shirt which provide additional chest protection. I wonder if these could be combined with an old chest protector. Regarding approved chest pads, the STX Shield 400 appears to be only with any shoulder protection at all. Agreed taking a shot ot the shoulder is painfullllll.

      1. Thanks coach…It does have both a hard front shell and its padding behind it smoothes out the shot. He’s been hit with several shots (including windups) and he said he barely feels it (tougher than me). Since he’ll be practicing throughout the winter and fall with club teams we thought it best to get one so he will be used to it, but there are only a handful on the market currently and its near impossible to get ones in youth sizes.
        I’ll hold out for a while since we a thinking alike that there should be more options in the near future.,,or maybe an allowance to use an add on piece.

        1. Yeah if it has the protection I guess it will be ok. It will be interesting to see how this rule is enforced. My guess is very little so it’s just a question of goalies being responsible and having right protective gear.

  8. Hi Coach,
    Our son really tuned right in to your Goalie summit. Thank you for creating that space in this crazy time. I’ve been trying to see if his BRINE KING CHEST PAD will fit the new regulations before getting a new one. Thoughts, sorry if I missed it somewhere in the text.

    1. Hey Jamie! You’re welcome! Those summits are the best. I’ll be doing it every quarter. I don’t see the Brine King Chest pad listed on the list of approved ones yet.

  9. I’m hoping someone here has some experience fitting these new chest protectors for girls. Any idea which one of the might work best for a mature girl’s frame? Our goalie is 5’7″ tall, 145 lbs and has D-sized breasts.

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