NOCSAE Standard for Commotio Cordis Rules for 2020 - Catcher's Chest Protectors

Effective as of January 1, 2020, chest protectors used in high school and college baseball must be NOCSAE certified. This rule is not in place for youth players (anyone below high school level), however, knowing this information will allow parents to safely equip their youth player. This rule can be somewhat confusing, therefore, we will discuss everything you need to know about the NOCSAE certification when it comes to catcher’s chest protectors, and will conclude by showing you a few NOCSAE certified options available on our site!

What does NOCSAE stand for?

The National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE) is a non-profit organization operating in the United States, whose mission is to reduce athletic injuries and death through standards and certification for athletic equipment. NOCSAE works with the Safety Equipment Institue (SEI) to test and determine whether or not products meet the standards set to receive certification.

Why must a catcher’s chest protector be certified?

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The main purpose of the certification is to determine whether or not a chest protector can prevent Commotio Cordis, as well as other, more minor injuries caused by impacts to the torso. Therefore, chest protectors must go through a series of tests and trials to make sure that they can withstand a certain amount of force impact, as dictated by NOCSAE and SEI.

What exactly is Commotio Cordis, and how should you handle a potential injury?

Commotio Cordis (Latin, “agitation of the heart”) is an often lethal disruption of heart rhythm that occurs as a result of a blow to the area directly over the heart (the precordial region) at a critical time during the cycle of a heartbeat, producing what is termed an R-on-T phenomenon that leads to the condition.

This is most commonly caused in baseball when a player takes a batted ball to the chest. For catcher’s, this most commonly occurs when a ball is fouled straight back and directly impacts the player’s chest.

The best way to prevent the likelihood of this injury from happening is to make sure the correct, NOCSAE certified, equipment is being used. If you notice a player may have suffered this injury, call 911 immediately in efforts to get a defibrillator on the scene as soon as possible and monitor the player very closely until paramedics arrive. While statistics show that CPR is not exactly effective in increasing the survival rate of players who suffer Commotio Cordis, it couldn’t hurt to perform while you wait for paramedics.

NOCSAE Certified Catcher’s Chest Protectors

NOCSAE Certified Chest Protectors

Below you will find a few products from our site that meet the new NOCSAE standards for 2020. Protective shirts and heart guards that are NOCSAE certified can be used in addition to a chest protector that is not certified, so they are another great option to consider. Now that you know everything you need to know about NOCSAE certification, check out our selection of NOCSAE Certified Chest Protectors!


This article was originally published on January 21, 2020, and has been updated with new information.