Every year, a few professional baseball players suffer injuries associated with direct ball strikes to the head. The strikes happen quickly, and they can impact with a force of up to 100 or 120 mph. In 2014, Dan Jennings of the Miami Marlins suffered a concussion after being struck by a line drive going 101 mph. The pitcher stumbled around the mound for a minute before emergency responders took him to the hospital.
The risk of head injury affects more than professional ball players. Children and adults in amateur leagues also face similar risks. Faster strike speeds affect the extent of injury, but slower speeds can also have devastating effects.
Roughly 1 in 300,000 pitches result in a ball coming straight back at a pitcher. That number may seem low, but each ball that makes contact with a head can potentially alter that person's life. Head injuries cause short-term effects, including concussions, bruising, and fracturing. They can also cause chronic conditions, including dementia and brain damage.
For children, head injuries can be devastating. 100,000 children between the ages of 5 and 14 are treated in hospitals for baseball injuries each year. As many as four die from those injuries.
Playing baseball is an inherently risky activity. All players, from small children to Major League contenders, should follow the recommended guidelines for their position to avoid injuries. As spring training picks up, anyone playing the game can follow these tips to lessen the risk of injury:
• Wear appropriate head gear during practice and games.
• Teach children to be mindful during the game, especially when they're batting, playing infield or pitching.
• Play ball with people at your skill level.
• Seek medical attention immediately after an injury, and follow the physician's recommendations for rest and recuperation.
Reach out to our Washington DC traumatic brain injury attorneys for more information about your rights and avenues for compensation in a head injury case.
Football players also commonly suffer from head injuries. Read our post on The Hottest Topic in Pro Football: How Concussions Are Changing the Game for the NFL for more information.