With the many advancements we have seen in the world of sports in recent years, the speed and intensity of games across the globe has increased exponentially. With this increase in intensity, the need to adequately protect athletes, regardless of age or playing level, has never been greater. EvoShield, a sports equipment company based out of Athens, Georgia, was quick to catch on to this and came up with a solution that could change the way protective equipment is viewed throughout the sports community.
EvoShield was birthed out of a radiologist’s design for a protective vest to help prevent heart related injuries for his sons and has since evolved into much more. Using a lightweight custom-molding composite material, EvoShield’s wide array of equipment form fits to the unique shape of each individual athlete’s body, removing the element of added weight or hindrance caused by many traditional forms of protection. The composite comes soft, sealed in a foil bag, and once removed reacts with elements in the air and hardens into a custom-fit, protective shield that is lighter and more durable than other protective equipment previously available. Rather than absorbing the shockwaves of impact like its foam predecessors, EvoShield equipment actually disperses or attenuates the force of impact away from the athlete’s body.
A recent hot topic of discussion in sports, and baseball circles specifically, has been a lethal phenomenon called commotio cordis. Commotio cordis can occur from a blow to the chest area that disrupts the natural rhythm of the heart beating during a critical time of the heart’s beat cycle. Commotio Cordis has been most commonly seen in baseball, many times coming as a result of a line drive back at the pitcher, and carries approximately a 65% fatality rate.(1) The few recoveries from this event were only possible with the use of an AED (Automated External Defribillator.), a device that is now beginning to show up in baseball facilities across the nation. The exact nature of commotio cordis has not been found, and the phenomenon has even occurred to catchers who were wearing their protective gear. Tests conducted by a leading facility in the southeastern United States showed that EvoShield’s composite material reduces the impact of projectiles on the athlete’s body more effectively than other protection available. The results, shown below, measure backface deformation, meaning the protrusion of a non-penetrable projectile on an object directly behind a tested protective plate. The three items tested include EvoShield’s chest protector, a generic brand catcher’s chest guard, and a bare subject.
As evidenced by the chart, EvoShield’s chest protector generated almost 4 millimeters less of backface deformation than the average chest protector and almost 10 less millimeters than wearing no protection at all, and with an injury as volatile as Commotio Cordis, every millimeter can be extremely crucial. EvoShield yielded some of the best impact results ever seen for a material of its weight and thickness. Scientists noted that Commotio Cordis occurs not only as a result of blows over the heart, but also from blows to the rib cage and on the back under the scapulas, both areas covered by EvoShield’s chest protector. While there is no hard evidence to prove that EvoShield’s technology actually prevents commotio cordis, there have been a number of anecdotal stories from parents whose children were struck in the chest, and walked away without harm, and as of yet there have been no reported cases of commotio cordis from athletes who were wearing EvoShield’s protective equipment.
Parents have been quick to praise the performance of EvoShield’s gear, one such mom claiming it may have saved her child’s life. Janice McNamara’s son Patrick, 12, was pitching in a little league tournament in Forsyth, Georgia when he was suddenly struck by a screaming line drive back up the middle. The ball struck Patrick directly in the chest, directly in the spot where he was wearing an EvoShield chest protector. Spectators feared the worst as he fell to the ground, but remarkably, the young pitcher was able to get up and walk off the field. The injury left Patrick with a slight bruise under his chest protector, but Janice claims that if not for her son wearing the EvoShield, things could have turned out very different. “I strongly believe that if it had not been for EvoShield, my child would have been seriously injured, if not fatally.” says McNamara. “Coaches, parents, and umpires were amazed at how Patrick was able to walk off the field and continue playing in the remainder of the game.” Stories like this are a chilling reminder that while rare, life threatening events do happen in sports, regardless of the playing level. Thankfully, Patrick had adequate protection that day that may have prevented him from any serious harm, and allowed him to get back to playing the game he loves.
The overwhelming majority of injuries that athletes encounter, however, are not life threatening, but many can still keep an athlete off the field for a prolonged period of time. One of the most common nagging injuries in baseball has been the wear and bruising on the thumb and palm of the hand that many catchers experience after prolonged innings behind the plate. After constantly gloving pitches for hours on end, many catchers experience excruciating pain in their thumbs that can keep them from being able to go out and play in their next game. This threat that can be especially prevalent for kids who play in travel tournaments, where they might be asked to catch as many as four games in a span of just two or three days. Drawing from their backgrounds in collegiate and professional sports, the team at EvoShield was able to come up with a piece of equipment that has been instrumental in preventing this injury, allowing catchers to prolong their time on the field.
EvoShield’s Multiformat Hourglass thumb guard comes ready to be molded, as flexible as a sheet of paper. But, just like the chest protector, when it is removed from its foil bag, the pliable material begins to slowly harden, at which point it can be wrapped around the thumb or heel of the hand to provide a durable, custom-fit shell of defense. Unlike many other forms of protection that have been created to defend against this injury, EvoShield’s Hourglass thumb guard not only custom molds to the athlete’s hand, but also molds to the inside of the player’s glove, a feature which allows it to be hardly noticeable when wearing. Many catchers have stated that in the past they wouldn’t use any thumb protection at all, because what they had to sacrifice in flexibility and movement with the available devices wasn’t worth the added protection. With EvoShield’s thumb guard, however, they claim to get an even better level of protection, without providing any extra weight or loss of flexibility.
EvoShield’s vision has been that no athlete should ever have to suffer from a preventable injury, and have designed their protective equipment to provide such a level of defense, without interfering with the players’ performance. As parents know, many kids are reluctant to wear protective equipment for various reasons, whether it be the added bulk or simply because it doesn’t “look cool”. What many parents have come to find with EvoShield, however, is that kids actually want to wear it. Kids like the sleek, custom fitting look of EvoShield and the added confidence they get while wearing it. Tonya, another parent of a young baseball player was shocked claiming “I couldn’t get our son to take his off in time for bed last night, he wanted to sleep in it!” “He used to be afraid of getting hit, but now he thinks he is indestructible.” And while EvoShield probably can’t promise indestructability, what it can promise is a sleek look kids will enjoy wearing while also providing a level of protection parents will love.
Sports play a huge role in many people’s lives, and not being able to go out and play the game you love is something no athlete should ever have to endure. With this in mind, having adequate protection, while still being able to perform at a high level, is the optimal solution everyone covets. And while no defense can ever fully guarantee 100% protection against all injuries, EvoShield appears to have found a steady balance of these two key elements; providing athletes worldwide with an unprecedented level of protection while still allowing them to go out and play at the top of their game. With this added dimension of protection, athletes now have the opportunity to go out and play with confidence, regardless of the intensity of their position, something that truly is game changing.
EvoShield has a full range of products covering multiple sports including football, softball, lacrosse, hockey, soccer, and other sports. For more information visit www.EvoShield.com. meaning the protrusion of a nonother protection available. The results, shown below measure the backface United Statesrden on