Hummingbird Sports

Making Girls Lacrosse Safer

Hummingbird Sports’ headgear could finally become the norm.

Unsurprisingly, football has the highest rate of concussions in all of high school sports. No. 2? That’s girl’s lacrosse. It makes sense on the surface – lacrosse is a pretty aggressive sport, after all. However, what many would be shocked to know is that, with this statistic in mind, helmets were essentially banned from the girl’s game. An old school mentality that girl’s lacrosse is meant to be a more finesse version of the boy’s game has created an aversion to allowing girls to wear hard plastic helmets on the field.

“The old school mentality in the girl’s game is that helmets will make the game more physical,” says Rob Stolker, CEO and founder of Hummingbird Sports. “You were never allowed to wear hard plastic boy’s helmets. If a girl showed up wearing one, she would be told she could not play.”

Stolker first discovered the problematic nature of girl’s lacrosse when he took his youngest daughters to their first practice. “Right away, my eight year old, who is a good athlete, picked up a ball and fired it at this little seven year old girl who was just standing there smiling and looking over at her mom,” he says, emphasizing how drastic a hit to the head from a hard lacrosse ball would be.

Though surprised and distraught when he found no one wearing helmets at practice, instead of simply pulling his daughters out of the sport and moving on, Stolker took it upon himself to develop a prototype headgear that would meet official helmet certification standards and adequately protect girls from head trauma when playing the sport. This development began in March 2014.

The biggest challenge was creating a headgear that would meet the standards set by the international standards organization, ASTM and US Lacrosse. A boy’s helmet simply had to pass a drop test, whereas a girl’s helmet had to pass a drop test, a 60 mph ball impact test and a squeeze test, which essentially meant that the headgear needed to be soft – the toughest obstacle, according to Stolker.

Over the course of two and a half years, Stolker went to ASTM meetings across the country, hired an engineer, went through countless prototypes and even partnered with Windpact, a helmet technology company run by former NFL defensive back Shawn Springs.

Stolker’s company, Hummingbird Sports, is based in Holmdel and is dedicated to the often overlooked female athlete. The now ASTM-approved Hummingbird headgear sells for $139.00. The company launched on September 20 and has sold more than 1,000 products, and expects to triple that by the time the season begins this spring.

“We launched around the headgear, but we have a lot of other exciting things in store for female athletes,” he says.

As of January 1, US Lacrosse has allowed certified headgear to be worn by girls in official games.

“I can’t wait for the season. We’ve already had a ton of sales,” Stolker says. “It takes one kid to step on the field with our headgear for everyone to see it. I’m very excited to see what the response is to that.”


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