Gunnar Sandberg, a 16-year-old high school baseball player, was in critical condition resulting from a baseball hit to the head while pitching in a practice game.

The impact resulted in a severe concussion and a medically induced coma.

Upon regaining consciousness, Gunnar underwent a series of brain scans after doctors “didn’t like what they saw.” Recovery was steady and positive, which was a big relief to Gunnar’s family considering the intensity of the head injury. But despite their hopeful attitudes they felt this was a wake up call for the coaches, athletes and parents.

Sandberg’s injury renewed concerns about the safety of metal baseball bats, which some coaches and parents believe make the ball travel faster and reduce a player’s reaction time.

But the US Consumer Safety Product Commission in 2002 found there wasn’t enough data to conclude that non-wooden bats posed an “unreasonable risk of injury” and declined to institute a rule that all non-wooden bats perform like wood bats.

Still, Mike May, a spokesperson for the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association, said the industry adopted standards in 2003 requiring that balls coming off metal bats are no faster than those coming off the best wooden bats.

“When people see an injury form a baseball off batted ball, they always go to the bat,” May Said. “There are other things to consider. Was Gunnar’s vision partly impeded by light? Was he in the right position to field the ball? Was he looking?”

At Ball Cap Liner, we focus on preventing these injuries whether they are the result of a metal or wooden baseball bat, a player’s awareness on the field, or any other extraneous circumstances.

If there is one thing we can all agree on, it is that accidents DO happen. But do these injuries have to be so severe?

All athletes face a certain level of risk when they walk onto the field, regardless of the sport they are playing. The issue is not the game and our means of playing. The issue is the level of education and awareness surrounding these injuries and the implementation of appropriate measures to prevent them while leaving the style of the sport intact.

Baseball is a game grounded in tradition. Every level of the sport has its own unique style of play and caliber of athlete. We do not want to see the sports change as the result of repetitive head injuries. Our mission is to protect athletes at all levels of the game so we can all continue to take part in the game we love so much without having to worry when the next injury may occur.

Ball Cap Liner is the last line of defense when reaction time fails when light shines in a player’s eye when a distracted coach turns his head. One simple measure (wearing your Ball Cap Liner) could be the difference between leading a long, successful life and a trip to the emergency room.

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