How 3 US lacrosse national partners are at the forefront of innovation

US Lacrosse Magazine

March 12, 2020

Lee Hanson likes solving other people’s problems.

A chemical engineer, Hanson brought his knowledge to the lacrosse community in 2011 by creating a soft-shell cap designed to be worn over helmets and reduce impact forces associated with the risk of concussion. Guardian Sports was born.

Upon hearing player and coach complaints about the hardening effect of traditional rubber lacrosse balls, Hanson’s next major breakthrough came in 2015 with the introduction of the world’s first ball that never greases or hardens. Now used at all levels of play, the PEARL is the official lacrosse ball of US Lacrosse and Team USA.

“My whole professional life has been based on people coming to me and saying, ‘I have a problem. Can you fix it?’” Hanson said.

Guardian Sports’ latest innovation, Paint the Corners, powered by PEARL PolyArmor, is a net reinforcement coating that prevents ripping or tearing.

“Losing lacrosse balls due to errant shots can happen, but losing them when you are stinging corners is unacceptable,” Hanson said.

PEARL PolyArmor is easy to apply and cures in 30 minutes. The material coats and absorbs into the net fabric and creates a monolithic composite that can withstand the harsh abrasion of high-impact shots. Guardian has used similar technology truck for beds liners, playground climbing ropes, military helicopter repelling ropes and commercial fishing nets.

Said Hanson: “PEARL PolyArmor can withstand a shark trying to eat through a fishing net, so I’m pretty sure it will hold up to a 90-mile-per-hour lacrosse shot.”

COMPRESSION THERAPY AT YOUR FINGERTIPS
NormaTec isn’t exactly a newcomer to the recovery scene, but the brand has innovated to make units more accessible to those at home — and more specifically, lacrosse players.

“It has been great to work more closely with the lacrosse community,” NormaTec said in a statement, citing relationships with the NLL, US Lacrosse, Harvard and pro athlete Trevor Baptiste. “Lacrosse players are incredible athletes, putting their bodies through rigorous training and intense competitions. NormaTec’s athlete recovery technology is the perfect high-tech warmup to help players go full throttle, and a powerful post-exertion recovery tool.”

The Pulse 2.0 leg recovery system — which goes for $1,295 on normatecrecovery.com — is 27 percent smaller than the previous model, a convenience for those traveling with the unit. The Pulse’s massage pattern employs pulsing, distal release and gradients to enhance blood flow, speed recovery and maximize recovery.
Smart Mouth
The SISU Sense Mouthguard, featured at the US Lacrosse Convention in Philadelphia, is wearable technology that can help monitor head impact.

The mouthguard has an electronic chip encased in a high-performance thermoplastic that can be custom-fitted to the exact shape of an athlete’s teeth when heated.

The chip contains an accelerometer, battery and Bluetooth antenna that sends data to an iPhone app. An Android app is coming soon.

The SISU Sense — which retails for $99.99 at sisuguard.com — cannot tell an athlete if he or she has a concussion, but it can monitor impact to alert parents or coaches how much trauma a players’ head has sustained.

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