Thursday, August 28, 2014

MLB approves protective cap

NEW YORK—Big-league pitchers might feel safer on the mound this season.
Major League Baseball has approved a protective cap for pitchers—hoping to reduce the effects of being hit in the head by line drives.

The new hat was introduced today and will be available for testing during spring training on a voluntary basis.
Major-leaguers and minor-leaguers won’t be required to wear it.
The safety plates made by isoBLOX are sewn into the hat and custom-fitted.
They weigh an extra six-seven ounces (a baseball weighs about five ounces, by comparison) and offer protection to the forehead, temples, and sides of the head.
They make the hats about a half-inch thicker in the front and around an inch thicker on the sides.
Several pitchers have been hit in the head by line drives in the recent years.
Brandon McCarthy sustained a brain contusion and skull fracture after being struck in 2012 while Doug Fister was hit during the World Series that October.
Toronto’s J.A. Happ and Toronto’s Alex Cobb were sidelined after being hit last season.
“We talked to a lot of guys who had been through this, and they provided a wealth of information to help us,” said Bruce Foster, CEO of the 4Licensing Corp., parent company of isoBLOX.
“We went through a myriad of different designs to develop this.”
Foster said the cap went through extensive testing and provided protection from line drives up to 90 m.p.h. in the front of the head and 85 m.p.h. on the side.
Line drives in the majors have been clocked at even faster rates.
While the hat is “slightly bigger” than a regular baseball cap, “It’s not going to be a Gazoo hat,” Foster stressed.
Several years ago, MLB introduced larger batting helmets that offered increased safety.
But big-leaguers mostly rejected them—saying they looked funny and made them resemble the Great Gazoo, a character on the “The Flintstones” cartoon series.
In December, 2012, MLB medical director Dr. Gary Green presented ideas on protective headgear to executives, doctors, and trainers.
The prototypes under study included some made of Kevlar—the high-impact material often worn by military and law enforcement and NFL players for body armour.
Several companies tried without success to make a product that would be approved by MLB.
While isoBLOX was first to get the OK, other firms still might submit proposals.

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