Pitchers Get More Protection in Youth Baseball
On July 29, 2010, I wrote about the danger of metal bats in youth baseball. There are a growing number of head and brain injuries caused when baseballs hit by metal bats strike a pitcher in the head. Some players have been severely injured. One 16-year-old young man, Gunnar Sandberg, was nearly killed by a line drive. He was in a coma for three weeks.
Although there are no hard data linking metal bats to an increase in injuries, there are plenty of anecdotes. Plus, bat manufacturers are quick to try to sell metal bats based on superior performance, but seem to back off when it comes to injury. They say that “exit speeds” off metal bats are only about 6 mph greater than those for wooden bats. On the other hand, metal bats have a “trampoline effect,” which causes the bat to compress and bounce back when hitting a baseball, causing a faster hit. (Wood bats don’t compress as much because they’re not hollow.)
States are creating rules about the use of metal bats in grammar and high school sports. The latest is in California.
According to an article in today’s San Francisco Chronicle:
Assemblyman Jared Huffman will abandon a bill that would have temporarily banned metal baseball bats in school sports, after striking a deal with California high school sports officials that may lead to mandatory protective headgear for pitchers and other players.
New safety standards set by the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) will ensure that non-wooden bats perform more like wooden bats, and that the bats cannot be tampered with to enhance their performance.
Most importantly, the CIF agreed to encourage infielders and coaches to wear protective headgear, and this may become mandatory within two years. In addition, the federation pledged to lobby its national leadership organization to set protective headgear standards.
HensonFuerst supports any measure that helps protect young athletes. Especially if the brain is protected. It bears repeating: Injured bones heal… injured brains are injured for life. Protective headgear may seem extreme, but there’s a whole generation of adults who grew up before bicycle helmets were required… now, wearing a helmet is second nature. This is a good idea, and we encourage federal safety standards for bats and head protection.
To read the full San Francisco Chronicle article: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/08/11/MNV51ESKG6.DTL#ixzz0wQNLi5I2
To read the original blog: http://www.lawmed.com/brain-injury/tbi-lawyer/more-injuries-from-metal-baseball-bats/