Injuries Common Among High School Baseball Players

June 3, 2008

Although baseball is relatively safe compared to other high school sports, injuries are common -- including serious injuries resulting from being hit with a batted ball -- and could be reduced by requiring players to use appropriate safety equipment, according to a report published in the June issue of Pediatrics.

TUESDAY, June 3 (HealthDay News) -- Although baseball is relatively safe compared to other high school sports, injuries are common -- including serious injuries resulting from being hit with a batted ball -- and could be reduced by requiring players to use appropriate safety equipment, according to a report published in the June issue of Pediatrics.

Christy L. Collins, of Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, and a colleague used baseball exposure and injury data collected by the Reporting Information Online surveillance system to calculate the injury rate for two school years: 2005-2006 and 2006-2007.

The researchers estimated that 131,555 baseball-related injuries occurred during the two school years, resulting in a rate of 1.26 injuries per 1,000 athletic exposures. Their analysis of 431 reported baseball injuries showed that 50 (11.6 percent) were caused by a batted ball. Compared to other injuries, they found that higher proportions of batted-ball injuries were to the head/face (48 percent versus 8.2 percent) and mouth/teeth (16 percent versus 1.3 percent) and required surgical treatment (18 percent versus 6.8 percent).

"On the basis of our findings that players in all positions are at risk of head/face and dental injuries when hit by a batted ball, the proportion of injuries attributable to being hit by a batted ball that require surgery, and previous research on the effectiveness of eye protection, face shields and mouth guards, we recommend strongly that helmets with face shields or at least mouth guards and eye protection be used by pitchers, infielders and batters at the high school level," the authors state.

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