In the never ending saga of concussions
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03-10-2011, 01:10 AM
Join Date: Jan 2005
A bit OT, but Easton-Bell is testing a pitchers helmet to protect a pitcher against a comebacker to the mound causing brain injury - effectively a small, lightweight bicycle helmet worn over the cap.
Monday, a representative from the Easton-Bell sporting goods company gave him an early anniversary present: the prototype of a "pitchers helmet" inspired by Sandberg's near fatal accident.
Armed with an increasing body of alarming medical research on the scope of brain injuries, the sports world aggressively has begun to confront the issue of improved safety equipment for the head - whether it's for NFL players or youth sports athletes. The goal not only is to prevent sudden injuries, like the one Sandberg suffered, but also limit unseen brain trauma that might not become apparent for decades.
That's why Monday's presentation of a new helmet innovation was attended by the national president of Little League Baseball as well as the executive director of CIF, the governing body for California's high school sports.
Standing in the lobby of the Easton-Bell technology center in Scotts Valley, Sandberg and his parents demonstrated how the so-called "pitchers helmet" works.
It's essentially a padded band that slips comfortably over a baseball cap. The prototype weighs about 5½ ounces and has the look and feel of a bicycle helmet with the top cut off.
The helmet is designed to protect the pitcher from line drives that come screaming back from the batter's box. (Sandberg said the ball that nearly ended his life was traveling 130 mph.)
During the creation of the pitchers helmet, designers at Easton-Bell's helmet technology center - known in-house as "The Dome" - studied film of more than 5,000 pitchers from delivery to follow-through with an eye toward which parts of the head were most vulnerable to injury.
Among those tracking its development is Stephen Keener, the president and chief executive officer for Little League Baseball. Keener said the helmet will be considered for mandatory use in Little League depending on the results of future field tests. Noting that his own son is now a college pitcher, he said "I hold my breath when he's out there on the mound."
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