by Jessica Griffith
It created a padded cap to help shield pitchers from line drives.
Many players have been injured due to liners. Diamondbacks pitcher Brandon McCarthy needed brain surgery and was in danger of dying. Since his injury, four other players have also been hit in the head.
Tampa Bay Rays team physician Michael Reilly is familiar with baseball head injuries.
“Last year we had two players that got hit at Tropicana field in the head with line drives, one was a visiting player on the mound and he had a cut and the ball hit his head and bounced out to right field,” Reilly says. “One of our players a month later, the same thing happened. Hit his head and went off again, got scanned and had a concussion for a short period of time.”
Reilly describes the new effort the MLB is putting forward to protect the pitchers. “Now baseball has given these Kevlar type of helmets that can go inside the baseball cap, which is optional for the pitchers starting this year.”
The lining is made of Kevlar, a synthetic fiber that is designed to withstand high impact. It can help prevent injuries from balls flying up to 86 MPH.
But, these caps aren’t perfect because it doesn’t protect the full head. “These two players that got hit in Tropicana were hit a little lower so it probably wouldn’t cover that, but I believe they’re hoping if the players get used to the Kevlar hat then they may extend the flap in the future,” says Reilly.
While these caps will not fully protect the pitcher’s head, it is a start to help prevent serious head injuries.