The Crasche hat, a Long Island product that looks like a knit cap but offers impact resistance, doesn't violate official rules against wearing helmets in girls’ lacrosse games, the maker said this week.
Woodbury-based Crasche New York said the rules committee at US Lacrosse, the sport's national governing body with a membership of 400,000, reviewed samples of the hat two weeks ago.
The committee, which included an NCAA representative, decided that it complies with the rules of the game at all levels, including college, the company said.
US Lacrosse rules don't allow girls and women -- except goalkeepers -- to wear helmets. The group's decision wasn’t meant as a recommendation or endorsement of the product, but was only a determination that the rules allow it to be worn in games, the company said.
Robert Emmett Cleva, who designed the hat, meant it to be worn by athletes in sports where they usually do not wear helmets, such as girls lacrosse, girls field hockey and touch football.
The outer layers of the inserts are composed of a strong polycarbonate plastic, and the inner layers are made of neoprene rubber, which is also used in making wet suits, and contain a series of air chambers that help cushion the impact and help spread the force of the impact over the entire insert, the company said.
One expert on sports medicine said he applauds any effort to protect young athletes, but he cautioned that protective gear should be tested in labs and on sports fields.
"My concern would be, what are the unintended consequences of this piece of protective headgear, and is it really doing what the manufacturer says it was designed to do?" said Shane Caswell, Ph.D., director of the Sports Medicine Assessment Research and Testing Laboratory at George Mason University. "Whether or not the protective equipment would cause players to put themselves in hazardous situations or change the game at this point is unclear."
Caswell authored a recent study on head injuries in girls lacrosse, published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine. The study found that most head injuries were the result of girls placing themselves in hazardous situations, either purposely or by accident
Melissa Coyne, women's game director at US Lacrosse, said the governing body is developing standards for protective headgear, in consultation with experts in sports medicine and orthopedics. The standards are expected to be complete within a year, she said.
The hats, which are made on Long Island, retail on the company's website for $24.95 and are available in eight colors.