Doctors treat about 4,000 children age 19 and under for sports-related traumatic brain injuries in New York every year, according to data from the New York State Department of Health. While contact sports, such as rugby, football and ice hockey cause the most injuries, concussions can occur in other sports, such as youth baseball.
What can parents do to protect their children from concussions suffered while participating in youth baseball leagues?
Make sure leagues are following CDC guidelines
The state of New York has legislation in place to govern how public and charter schools handle concussions and other traumatic brain injuries in school-administered sports activities. However, this legislation does not apply to youth baseball leagues, such as Little League Baseball, that are not administered by the school system. Parents should check with the administration of any league their child participates in to ensure the league follows the CDC guidelines for concussion prevention:
- Athletes should always wear a properly fitting batting helmet that is in good condition
- Coaches should teach players proper fielding techniques and collision avoidance
- Administrators should ensure the field, dugout and other areas are free of tripping hazards and that all equipment has adequate padding and is in good condition
Know the risks
About 26% of concussions occur when pitched balls hit batters. Another 26% happens when players are fielding a batted ball.
Batting helmets and proper fielding techniques can prevent many baseball-related concussions. Parents should be on the alert for unsafe equipment usage or improper fielding techniques and alert their child’s coach or league administrator when safety issues occur.