Boston Red Sox catcher David Ross sported a hockey-style goalie helmet behind the plate after suffering a concussion last May, but some fans might have noticed he’s back to wearing the traditional plastic helmet and mask.
But don’t let the look of Ross’s headgear fool you.
As reported by Stack, Ross has been working with a company called Unequal since his concussion last season. Unequal constructs a special padding made of military-grade rubber, plastic and fiber that’s five times stronger than steel. Ross didn’t like the look of the padded beanie the company made him to wear under his helmet last season — he said teammates told him he “looked like a Hibachi chef” — so Unequal fashioned something else for him.
So although Ross’s mask and helmet look like the MLB standard, there actually are layers of that protective padding built into both. Ross said he feels a difference, too.
“The blows weren’t as jarring as they were before,” Ross said. “I can’t say exactly why, but in each case, it was kind of a dull hit rather than a full-on blow. And I’ve had no problems or injuries.”
Still, Ross hopes to be wearing a different model next year. Unequal has developed something they call the UNCAP, which is a hard-shell cloth cap that players could wear under any helmet. They hope Major League Baseball will approve it by next season.
“The one problem with the plastic hat is that when I sweat, it pours down my face,” Ross said. “With a cloth baseball cap, the sweat won’t pour down. Plus, cloth holds the mask in place better than plastic does.”