Last year, the Michigan High School Athletic Association completed a yearlong collection of head injury reports from its school members. The association requested that member schools report, by sport, possible concussions by their student-athletes during both practice and games. Softball players reported 11 concussions per 1,000 participants, and baseball players reported four per 1,000.
Mickey Collins, PhD, clinical and executive director at the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program says, “because of foul tips, catchers and actually umpires are the most at risk for concussion on the baseball diamond”. About 60 percent of UPMC’s baseball concussion patients are catchers. While head injuries may be common for catchers and umpires, it is not uncommon for outfield players to obtain head injuries by colliding with teammates and opponents, running into fences, walls and backstops, and being hit by a ball or a bat.
Preventable Measures with Proper Equipment
While baseball requires little protective equipment, it is important for coaches, athletes, and parents to be aware of the proper protection. Properly fitting equipment also helps prevent many injuries.
A batter’s helmet should fit snugly, with no space between the pads and the athlete’s head. The helmet should not sit too high or low, and should be checked to make sure the ear holes line up properly with with athlete’s ears. When the athlete is looking forward, the bill of the batter’s helmet should be aligned with the ground. The bottom of the bad inside the front of the helmet should be about one inch above the the player’s eyebrows.
Proper masks, chest protectors, and leg guards should be worn by umpires and catchers. These masks should fit comfortably and snug around the umpire or catcher’s face. A chest protector provides collar bone protection and is made to help deflect any impact. Leg guards should be adjusted to move as little as possible while playing the game. Your shin guard size can be found by measuring from the center of your kneecap to the bottom of your shin. The mask should fit snugly and comfortably around the athlete’s head with proper padding.
Look Like the Pros but with Added Protection
Permitted for high school use in baseball, as well as football, hockey and lacrosse, 2nd Skull products are scientifically engineered to reduce impact. Every 2nd Skull comes with a thin layer of lightweight XRD, an extreme impact protection material made from special urethane molecules that are soft and flexible at rest but can momentarily harden under sudden pressure. 2nd Skull caps fit neatly under sports helmets so you can add a layer of protection to any activity.