January 9, 2020
Tim Newcomb-Baseball America
EvoShield has created an entirely new product in its effort to help high school catchers stay safe behind the plate while conforming to new NFHS rules.
In effect Jan. 1, 2020, NFHS requires baseball catchers to use chest protection certified to the NOCSAE standard. The NCAA will require the same standard for its catchers in 2021. As both an entry into EvoShield’s plan to craft an entire line of catcher’s gear and to offer players a less expensive solution than purchasing a new set of catcher’s equipment, EvoShield built a NOCSAE-certified chest guard that fits within a sleeveless compression shirt.
“With us being a leader in the space in terms of protection, we wanted to help create a great solution,” said Riley Wancket, EvoShield marketing manager. “We know how expensive it is to buy new sets, so we wanted to create something to be worn with a current set up to help from a safety perspective, but also help a player’s wallet.”
The new shirt and protection combination will retail for about $90. The stand-alone product also serves as a lead-in to EvoShield’s spring release of EvoShield branded catcher’s gear. EvoShield has already signed an agreement with MLB to be the official catcher’s gear for the league in 2020.
The NOCSAE guard includes a chest guard piece — the part that has the actual certification — that slides into a pocket on the compression shirt. The guard is removable to make it easy to wash the shirt, but for the NOCSAE certification to remain, the guard must be in place.
EvoShield worked with the certification and testing bodies to ensure they created a product that fit well within the certification scope. “It has been a long process in the making and that is how it is with all of our gear that goes through this process for the NOCSAE standard,” Wancket said.
The certified chest guard will also come as part of the new catcher’s gear available this spring.
Wancket said the design team will explore using the product created for baseball chest protection in other sports.
Tim Newcomb covers gear and business for Baseball America.