• Columnist: Addressing Baseball Pitchers' Head Vulnerabilities
  • June 5, 2013
  • Law Firm: Carmody Torrance Sandak Hennessey LLP - Stamford Office
  • The extent of injury involved with a head hit in sports is sometimes not obvious, especially for players wearing helmets. In fact, it often seems the case that team coaches, doctors and trainers are not aware that something might be amiss or that the player who was concussed or sustained another type of brain trauma even needs medical attention. Injured players themselves often remark following an injury that they were unaware of its extent or that they needed to stop participating immediately.

    That is less often the case with sports injuries involving baseball pitchers, who do not wear helmets. It is often startlingly clear, in fact, when a pitcher has sustained a head injury while playing, given his close proximity to home plate and the near-lethal power of some professional hitters.

    As AP national writer Paul Newberry notes, Major League Baseball (MLB) hurlers -- as well as college throwers, high-school pitchers and even little leaguers in Connecticut and throughout the country -- are all at evident risk and easy targets for head injuries resulting from balls hit sharply right back at them. Much video footage exists showing how vulnerable and compromised a pitcher can be when a ball streaking at speeds of up to 100 mph or more comes hurtling at his unprotected head.

    What Newberry seeks to emphasize is that word "unprotected." He notes that, because baseball is a storied game of tradition, suggested change to it of any sort -- and that would centrally include added protection for pitchers' heads --will almost certainly be objected to at the outset.

    Yet we need such a change, he says, A hard blow to the head off a batted ball may be a relatively uncommon occurrence, but it does happen. And when it does, participants suffer concussions, diminished vision, skull fractures and other injuries.

    Those types of outcomes should promote purposeful change, says Newberry, at every level of the game.