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The Great Helmet Debate: Cascade vs. Warrior

5 - Published September 9, 2011 by in Equipment, Helmets, Sections
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As long as I’ve been playing lacrosse, I’ve worn a Cascade lid. I’ve always considered myself a Cascade man like many consider themselves Trojan men; by virtue of trial and error, I’ve come to appreciate what the product has to offer and I’ve given my brand loyalty in exchange. I had always considered Warrior helmets a halfhearted attempt by a lacrosse company so big they’d be ostracized if they didn’t make one. But I was thinking about it at work the other day…I don’t think I’ve ever actually chosen which helmet I got to wear. My club or school has always made that most executive of decisions for me.  Maybe I’m a Warrior guy, or a Brine guy (or worse, a Riddell guy) and I didn’t even know it!  I was having an existential flydentity crisis and alas, I couldn’t solve this quandary without hitting the lottery because a new helmet is a nothing but a pipe dream for a broke college kid.
Warrior TII vs. Cascade Pro7, which would you choose?

Warrior TII vs. Cascade Pro7, which would you choose?

Then Jeff and Connor, in their infinite wisdom, invited me to become a Woozle.  Thanks to an anonymous and awesome donor, who will remain anonymous for anonymity’s sake, The Woozles received some pretty sweet Warrior TII lids with some Woozle swag slapped on. In my post-collegiate lacrosse freedom, I had the opportunity to compare my new Warrior lid to my old Cascade one at the 2011 Tahoe Lacrosse Tournament.

And in my first post as the new Editor of Sweet Sweet Lax, I thought I’d share some of my thoughts on the comparison!

Warrior TII vs. Cascade Pro7, which would you choose?

The back side, the rough ride.

Warrior TII vs. Cascade Pro7, which would you choose?

Protects your noggin?

The first thing I noticed about the Warrior TII when I unwrapped it was the styrofoam. I’d had my Pro7 a few years already and the obvious difference between it and almost every other helmet out there is that instead of styrofoam, it has the Seven Technology™ liner system, which “compresses and laterally displaces the energy to soften the blow from a direct impact, thereby reducing the probability of a concussion.” Now I can’t testify to the extent to which this system actually does this, but I can tell you that the Warrior TII doesn’t have it. Does that make it less protective?  I’m not a doctor or an engineer, so I couldn’t tell you.

What I can tell you is that I did some crease-diving and flag-drawing in Tahoe and the TII definitely held up its end of the bargain. It is a bigger helmet than the Pro7, but if you put the included inserts that fit your head in, it really won’t feel much different. One thing I really like about the Warrior TII is the temple pads (ya know, where your temples are?) are a gel material instead of the styrofoam of the Pro7. The gel material allows you to default to a larger pad size, so it keeps the helmet nice and snug when you’re still, and it cushions nicely when you’re not.  This is an area I take a lot of impact for some reason, so I appreciated Warrior’s foresight.

Woozles TII in action

Woozles TII in action

All that being said, there’s something about going back to the Pro7 after our Woozles games that seemed refreshing. It was like I had been using someone else’s stick, or wearing his jock-strap. The Pro7 just feels like home. It’s noticeably lighter than the TII (but not by much, according to my roommate’s bathroom scale) – however, I can feel the difference when I swing my head around quickly. I’d also talk about the PROFit system with the sliders and the star wheel, but I’m pretty sure I haven’t touched it since the day I took it out of the packaging.

One major advantage the Pro7 has over the TII from an attackman’s standpoint is what I’ll call “the ring effect.” You’ve all experienced it. A defenseman is waving his stick above your head, swatting flies; he’s aiming for that bit of your stick he can see behind your back but he rings your bell instead. Flag down. While this effect sucks while wearing any helmet, the Pro7 stays pretty quiet (maybe I didn’t give the Seven Technology™ the credit it deserves) while the TII rings like the liberty bell, sans the crack. It is scientific fact, however, that the louder the helmet, the more likely the flag, so if your ears can take the ringing it might not be a bad investment.

Cpro7 uC Davis helmet cascade

Swaggies Pro7 in action

ROTTMAN’S CHOICE: A very wise man at lacrosse camp once said to me that “forty percent of lacrosse is aesthetics.” I can’t remember who the hell he was, but it meant a great deal to me. I have it embroidered on a throw pillow. The choice between these two helmets is largely aesthetic. I feel just as safe wearing one as the other, and it in no way affected my game. But now I have a black helmet and a gold one, so if I’m wearing black, red, pink, etc. I’ll probably wear the TII. Navy, gold, white, I’ll go Pro7. This was a cautionary tale: a boombox is not a toy. Also, lacrosse companies put a great deal of R&D into their products, and their helmets are certainly no exception. Warrior helmets are no longer the poor-man’s Cascade. I’ll wear each of my helmets with pride. But if, as a coach, I was responsible for that most executive of team decisions, I’d still order a slew of Cascade Pro7′s for my players. And then I’d send them to Headwrapz.

SHOW US YOUR TIIS!!!!!!

Rottman LOVES him some Headwrapz, but it seems like they do mostly Pro7′s, so if you have a Warrior TII that is Headwrapzed (which is the preferred spelling, he triple checked) send it to sweet@lacrosseallstars.com. The coolest one will be featured on Sweet Sweet Lax!

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