Helmet Recalls Causing Disturbances in the Force

It was recently declared by NOCSAE that the Cascade R and Warrior Regulator helmets are not to standard. Coincidentally, this came within 48 hours of STX releasing their new helmet they partnered with Schutt to create: Stallion.

This poor marketing scheme of STX’s is really beginning to impact the lower levels of lacrosse. It seems that Black Friday commences the seasonal shopping for gear, specifically gloves and helmets. More and more families are coming in to purchase lids for holiday gifts and indoor leagues.

Indoor lacrosse is expanding rapidly at the youth levels, especially in the northern hemisphere: New York, Minnesota, Dakotas, Colorado, Utah, Idaho, Wisconsin. It’s just starting to gain traction in the areas of Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Maryland.

Here in Colorado, phones at retailers are ringing almost off the hook with parents concerned about the news they recently found “on the line” (please tell me you get the Vince Vaughn movie reference) that announces this flaw with the helmets.

Reasons heard from customers against purchasing STX Stallions:

– shell looks funny with odd fin on back and vent hole placements

– they can’t have the tilt they want because the top row has two vertical bars in the way of seeing

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– peripherals are cut off due to where the mask makes its bends and attachments

– helmet is too heavy, can feel it a little when holding two helmets, feel it a lot when wearing it

– helmet feels wide/bulbous on their head

Some quotes from phone calls, walk in customers, and word from other retailers:

“I just bought my son a Cascade R earlier this season, probably end of summer. He’s about to start box here in Denver and now I’m reading his helmet isn’t safe.”

“Our team just placed helmet and gear orders for helmets that aren’t safe. That’s a lot of money to waste or refund or track and work out.”

“We’re shopping for our daughter today. She plays goalie. And, like many players and families, we think all girls should wear helmets.”

“The multiple statements online confuse each other…. they say Cascade will take care of it and to contact them, but to call you guys [local retailer] to work out an exchange.”

There’s a few issues that arise here:

1) Let’s get the easy one out of the way: girl’s don’t necessarily need football padded helmets just to play goalie. If the game changes rules to the point that all girls should wear helmets, fair enough. The way the rules are now, goalies don’t need that weight/level of protection for head collisions.

2) As for customers trying on helmets in store, most retailers immediately pulled the Cascade R’s and Regulators from the shelves. STX reigns the shelves, and the usual CPX-R’s or CPV-R’s are still available.

3) For teams who have recently placed orders, they are literally s**t out of luck. Let’s be honest, for offseason practices they’re most likely using whatever helmets they still have. Once the season and preseason come around, they’ll need to be ready. If some teams decide to pull orders, that’s a lot of money to refund.

4) Most important across all ages and sexes: indoor leagues starting up. These winter-season lacrosse leagues start mid-December at the latest, and then spring season is right around the corner. Are these parents expected to not play in leagues they already spent money on? What about the money for a new helmet? What if “Johnny” come from an under-privileged family who scraped together enough for him to play with his gear from last year?

As I’ve said previously, I think this issues will be resolved in a matter of weeks. After doing some research into the matter, I really think STX is manipulating the organization currently based on information they assembled themselves.

– To start, Cascade outlines in their warnings and manual that the helmet CANNOT protect from these types of injuries, only decrease their chances of happening.

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– Cascade outlines that their R series helmets are designed only for field/turf conditions. Nowhere in the guidelines does it say “please use for box leagues”. There’s a reason NLL and other indoor leagues wear hockey helmets.

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– Finally, Cascade points out that their helmets are NOT tested on NOCSAE sanctioned equipment, which inclines us all to believe they just test their own products, fill out paperwork, and BAM get a sticker. (second to last sentence, starting with ‘however’)

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Is it right that they aren’t protecting their consumers? Of course not. Is it legal that they’re outlining these things in a place no one reads? Yes, and that’s what’s preventing them from being sued now most likely.

There were 36 Schutt helmets, 18 Cascade helmets and 8 Warrior helmets tested. A helmet that passes protects a human head against impacts up to 1200SI (single impact).

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Notice how these tests were arranged by STX, as also was the report sent to NOCSAE. Also think about the types of impacts in lacrosse. There’s a lot more side-to-side and rear hits than front/crown.

As for temporary replacements, what ever happened to the Warrior TII’s? They’re still online but not in any stores. I thought it was a great helmet when I used it in college and wish I had held onto it. The Regulator is a remodeled TII and floods the Warrior scene. Indoor helmets would be an idea but most Americans may have to order them online and wait for them to arrive without a fitting beforehand.

Cascade and Warrior better figure something out quick. Honestly, the majority of the attention is focused on Cascade R and CS. Retailers are being held responsible for finding answers for customers without any direction from the manufacturers.

It’s almost game time for most youth; keep their noggins protected! They’re our civilization’s future!