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New Baseball Gear Keeps Kids Safer

More than five million kids currently play organized baseball in the U.S. A new study finds that improved equipment such as safety balls and face guards can help prevent many injuries among young ballplayers . . .

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As kids return to the baseball diamond over the summer, the risk of injury is a concern for parents and coaches. A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that using the right gear can make the national pastime much safer. Mike Huff, coordinator of the Sports Performance Program in Duke Sports Medicine’s Michael Krzyzewski Human Performance Lab, says equipment like softer balls and breakaway bases means fewer serious injuries.
"There’s certainly a lot of value in things like the safety bases that release, rather than having a player tear up a knee. Also, the lower-impact baseball is pretty close in feel to a regular baseball, but with a little less impact."
Huff says mesh or Plexiglas face guards that attach to batting helmets can protect kids from facial injuries, but could potentially cause problems by reducing vision. He’d also like to see kids receive vision training, to help young players improve their reaction time.
 "If we could do a good job of that, and it’s certainly something I’d like to develop here, it could make a huge difference not only in injury prevention, but in sports performance."
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