Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Baseball helmets in high school, continued

More on high school baseball players and face protection.

The issue generates more discussion in the November edition of Pediatrics. Ronald W. Coen, of St. Luke's Regional Medicial Center, Boise, Idaho, writes that to advocate for helmet-wearing infielders is "highly quixotic." (Translation: What were you thinking?) Dr. Coen then raises an issue that I did not in Sunday's post. "Helmets would restrict peripheral vision and restrict the ability of the defensive ball player to dive for balls and also look upward for high fly balls. It is not difficult to imagine a third baseman diving to his right for a line drive only to have his helmet move into his line of vision and batter his face when he hits the ground."

Also in the November edition, Comstock and Collins, researchers and helmet advocates, respond: "Sports have strong traditions and cultures, and historically, introduction of protective equipment has been resisted." (Translation: Get over it). "When helmets were introduced to football, ice hockey, and men's lacrosse, some were concerned that injury rates would increase. Athletes in these sports also use their peripheral vision to field fast-moving hard objects during play; however, few clinicians today would argue that these sports would be safer if helmets were not required."

An interesting debate, well argued on both sides. I maintain that the most formidable obstacle to required face protection is the pro-sports model. If sport goggles were mandatory in the big leagues, attitudes in the amateur/youth ranks would soften quickly.

No comments: