When it comes to baseball, keeping yourself well protected is just as important as making the great play or connecting for that solid hit. Body protection accessories are a great way to assure yourself that the potential injuries sustained on the field won’t keep you sidelined for long. There are a number of body protection accessories to choose from, each with specific body parts and functions in mind to keep you on the field and in the game.
Aside from batting helmets that keep batters safe from errant pitches, there are also cap liners available that can be worn by pitchers and fielders. Cap liners are worn under the hat and have a low-profile design to not hinder mound or field performance. This protective layer disperses the energy against the guard and lessens the amount of energy transferred to the head, which can greatly diminish the potential of injury.
A lot of attention has been given to potential head injuries in recent years, which has led to better technology and protection. “The innovation in that area has gotten a lot better,” says DICK’S Sporting Goods Associate Bradley Baughman. “A lot of the protection we have today is more advanced than a few years ago. It’s not as bulky and not as much of a hassle for kids to wear when they are playing.”
One of the more common injuries sustained on the baseball diamond is getting hit on the elbow during an at-bat. And it can hurt. But an elbow guard can help. Worn over the joint, elbow guards offer hard-shell coverage to the area and disperse energy upon impact. Coverage and padding can vary among models, giving players options in respect to potential safety.
WRIST & HAND
An injury to the hand or wrist can cause discomfort for players and, if severe enough, can even limit playing ability. Wrist and hand injuries often occur when there is an impact with an outside source; a ball, a base or another player, for example. To counter this, wrist guards come in a variety of designs to help increase player safety. Similar in design and function to elbow guards, wrist guards can be worn while batting and disperse the energy transferred from a hit-by-pitch instead of absorbing it. There are also wrist guards for baserunners, which aid in preventing wrist jams and potential hyperextensions while sliding.
Players can also opt for protective batting gloves that offer more padding around the back of the hand, as well as finger guards that are worn with fielder’s gloves to add more padding to the pocket when catching.
A player’s knees can be susceptible to injury throughout the game. Bumps, bruises and abrasions can be uncomfortable nuisances, and knee pads can help protect the joint from contact by surrounding the knee in padding and cloth. Knee pads also offer another layer to prevent abrasions while sliding or diving.
SHIN & ANKLE
Some of the smallest and most fragile bones in the body are located in the ankle and foot, so for you to stay on your feet and on the field, protecting these areas can be very crucial. Ankle guards cover the shin, ankle and top of the foot with a hard-shell outer layer that disperses the impact and can limit the energy absorbed by contact.
As with any protective accessory, be sure to use the item properly in order to achieve the gear’s maximum potential safety. If used properly, body protection can help reduce the risk of injury. Remember, always consult with your coach or league before purchasing baseball protective equipment.