While the NFL continues to explore ways to help eliminate concussions in their sport with new equipment, Major League Baseball is trying to be proactive in its quest to keep exposed pitchers on the mound safe, introducing a new protective headwear that will debut in spring training this year.
According to ESPN, an expected 20 MLB pitchers will test out the new technology this spring, which is a hybrid cap/helmet design that weighs between 10 to 12 ounces, meaning it’s light enough that MLB officials believe it won’t obstruct pitchers.
With a carbon fiber shell and a sun visor with an extended forehead for extra temple coverage, as well as single earflaps like batting helmets, the headgear is believed to help eliminate injuries from line drives that pitchers would otherwise sustain.
Alex Cobb, a pitcher who, after being struck by a liner in 2013, suffered a mild concussion and experienced vertigo for two months following, has tried the prototype out and gives his approval, telling ESPN:
“It felt great and looks good, similar to a helmet with the top cut off. If I put it on and it’s close to wearing a baseball hat and I’ve got nothing to complain about, I think I’d be open to it,”
According to the pitcher, had he been wearing one of these helmets that day, the outcome may have been different, as the ball would have struck the ear flap, so it would have made an impact on his situation.
Made by a company called isoBLOX, which specializes in protective gear for athletes, only time will tell if pitchers on all levels begin to take these helmets seriously, but after seeing what happened to Cobb in 2013, the last thing anyone pitching wants to experience is getting struck by a baseball coming at over 100 miles per hour, so here’s to hoping these catch on.