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Safety Gear Helping Strike Out Baseball Injuries

by The Kid's Doctor Staff

The number of children who required ER treatment for baseball injuries in the U.S. decreased 25 percent from 1994 to 2006, down to an estimated 111,000 injuries from 147,000.

A new study shows that greater use of protective equipment may be one reason for the decline in injuries. The study was published online in the June 2009 issue of the journal Pediatrics and was conducted by researchers at the Ohio State University College of Medicine.

The researchers found that being hit with a baseball was the most common cause of injury, 46 percent, followed by being hit with a bat. Soft tissue injuries and fractures and dislocations were the most common types of injuries, and the parts of the body most often injured were the face, 34 percent, and the upper extremities.

“Although baseball injuries have declined, the consistently high numbers of injuries requiring emergency treatment highlight the importance of increasing our prevention efforts,” said study co-author Dr. Gary Smith of the Center of Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.

“Safety equipment such as age-appropriate breakaway bases, helmets with properly-fitted face shields, mouth guards and reduced-impact safety baseballs have all been show to reduce injuries,” said Smith.

“As more youth leagues, coaches and parents ensure the use of these types of safety equipment in both practices and games, the number of baseball-related injuries should continue to decrease. Mouth guards in particular, should be more widely used in youth baseball,” he concluded.

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