For fans, athletes, and parents summer means the season of baseball. This baseball season parents, coaches and athletes should be aware of the potential dangers of baseball injuries. Every year, head injuries in baseball send hundreds players to the emergency room. In a number of these cases, head trauma is permanent and severe. Whether on the sidelines or in the outfield it is important to know proper safety protocols to prevent head injuries.
Many head injuries are caused by balls to the head or face. Equipment, awareness, and proper training can help to prevent these injuries. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has developed a number of guidelines for players, families, coaches and athletic organizations to prepare for this season. Our Fort Lauderdale child injury attorneys are dedicated to helping our community achieve baseball safety goals this summer.
1) Helmet sizing. Proper equipment is critical to preventing head injury. Players should know what equipment is necessary and should always be wearing appropriate head gear, even in the dugout. Helmets should be properly sized for athletes. To size a helmet, you can use a soft tape measure or use string and a ruler. Helmet companies may have varying sizes so it is important to do a fitting before it is used on the field. There should be no spaces between padding and the player’s head.
2) Using equipment properly. After a helmet is sized, parents and coaches should double check to make sure that the player can see properly. Ask your child or team member if the helmet feels comfortable and secure. A catcher’s helmet may be one or two pieces and should also fit snugly. Remember that no player should try to wear a baseball cap and a helmet at the same time. This could impair the fit and effectiveness of the helmet.
3) Stay alert and aware. Young players can be distracted on the field, but it is important to remind young athletes to stay focused and alert, during practice and during games. All baseball players should be engaged and prepared to catch, avoid or deflect balls, whether in the dugout or on the field.
4) When a ball strikes a player. Even if an injury doesn’t look severe, it could have caused significant damage or harm. In many cases, the severity of a blow to the head is not known for hours, days, or even weeks after an injury. Parents or coaches should not be the judge of the seriousness of an injury. You should always seek a professional medical provider to determine whether the player has suffered a serious head injury. Parents should watch for signs of injury and be aware of the possibility of a concussion.
5) Long-term brain damage. Multiple blows to the head have been proven to cause long-term and permanent brain injury or traumatic brain injury (TBI). A player should not return to the game after being struck by a ball. Many health professionals also recommend sitting out several games or even the season after an injury.
While baseball season is exciting for players, coaches, fans and parents, remember that safety is of foremost importance. An injury can cause immediate and severe damage and should be tended to accordingly.