Baseball is often seen as a slow-moving entity, clinging to the past in the face of overwhelming public opinion on matters of drug testing and instant replay. When it comes to head injuries and pitchers, however, Major League Baseball is not dragging its feet.
Several pitchers are trying out padded caps with the league’s blessing in the hopes of reducing the risk of head injuries from batted balls, according to ESPN.com. The hats, designed by Unequal Technologies, have a layer of “concussion reduction technology” (CRT) padding inside, the same padding the company uses in helmets for baseball, fo0tball and other sports.
The padding inside each cap “weighs 4.3 ounces, is one-eighth of an inch thick and is made of a three-layer synthetic composite that includes military-grade DuPont Kevlar and a polymer with the properties of rubber,” according to Unequal Technologies president Rob Vito.
The caps could be introduced to minor league games as early as this season, but for now, the company just wants pitchers to try them out and provide some feedback. Vito admits that the timeline for the project was accelerated last season after pitchers Brandon McCarthy and Doug Fister were injured by line drives to the head.
The league is also speaking with several other vendors about possible protective headgear. While the hats do not claim to prevent concussions, they should help, and it’s good to see the league being proactive when it comes to such a dangerous issue.