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After OSU lacrosse player’s helmet partially shatters, company assures safety

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When a player for the Ohio State men’s lacrosse team took a shot to the head during practice on Jan. 29, part of his helmet shattered.

A photo of the player wearing the broken STX Stallion 500 helmet surfaced on Monday, and OSU released a statement Tuesday saying the shot that fractured the helmet came “at close range from high speeds” and the player wearing it did not sustain debilitating injuries.

“The involved student-athlete was immediately examined by the medical staff for injuries and was able to continue practicing and competing without any interruption,” the statement said.

The statement did not identify the player involved.

STX stepped in right away for OSU, according to the statement.

“Following the incident, STX, the helmet supplier, immediately replaced the outer shell of all of the team’s helmets and there have been no issues during practices or competitions,” it said.

This incident came following a turbulent few months for the lacrosse helmet manufacturing business, starting in November when the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment revoked the safety certification of OSU’s previous helmet, the Cascade R.

NOCSAE announced the R’s loss of certification, and executive director Mike Oliver said the investigation began after STX sent the board self-tested results showing the Cascade helmets to be unsafe.

“We have conducted other investigations in the past, but the problems were not as severe or obvious, and there were solutions available short of decertifying helmets in the field,” Oliver told Lacrosse Magazine in December.

Cascade then modified its product and re-gained certification under NOCSAE standards in mid-December, but OSU moved forward with the switch to STX. The modified Cascade helmet is referred to as the R-M.

STX president Jason Goger upheld the safety of the helmet, telling Inside Lacrosse that the OSU player wearing the broken helmet remained protected during the “really severe incident” and does not anticipate any changes to the helmet itself or the company’s partnership with OSU.

“The situation has been replicated — firing a ball at high speeds at low temperatures,” Goger said. “This (helmet fracture) is something that has not been duplicated in a testing capacity.”

The OSU men’s lacrosse team played its first two games in the repaired STX helmets without any further incidents, and the OSU Department of Athletics maintains that the safety of players is its No. 1 priority.

The Buckeyes are scheduled to return to the field Sunday to take on the Delaware Blue Hens. Opening faceoff is set for noon at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center.

Correction: An earlier version of this story stated Cascade had NOCSAE re-sertify the R helmet, when in fact, Cascade remodeled the helmet under NOCSAE standards and named the new model R-M.

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