Raise your hand if you have ever been hit in the head with a baseball.
Yes? Well, congratulations. If you’re reading this article, either the internet it more amazing than I ever imagined, or you’re still alive. Welcome to the club of the living.
Playing pickup baseball with your six only friends in the sandlot without a helmet at dusk on a summer evening again, are we?
That’s my story.
Getting clonked in the head with a pitch ain’t pretty, even if you’re still on your feet after the impact, standing there in the dirt, choked up on your old bat, confused as hell. And even if you’re on the ground laughing because, well, you just saw the ball coming, hovering there in midair, and then suddenly, it was at your skull with no time to react. Someone standing on the mound is shouting “Why didn’t you get outta the way?!” But hey, you’re conscious.
That’s my story. Yours?
If there were no college scouts in the stands, it’s a safe bet your high school buddy (or boyfriend) probably was not throwing a 95-miles-per-hour fastball. But nevertheless, it hurts. If not tonight, it will in the morning. And for the record… We’re not dating anymore. Also, he’s a Yankees fan. Some things are really not meant to be.
Sometimes ball-to-head contact is far more serious, and instead of a minor concussion, you get a real traumatic-brain-injury-concussion. Or worse. And once there’s some major league heat behind that thing, a little chin music can be devastating.
Today, across all levels of baseball and softball (because any young girl with a bloody nose will contest those balls are not soft), we see batters, baserunners, catchers, coaches, umps, and even portions of stadium soft-serve ice cream wearing similar hard plastic contraptions for protection. We call them helmets. And they are an excellent invention.