Kevin G Laudner
This study examined if impact characteristic differences exist between the traditional baseball catcher’s headgear and the hockey style catcher’s headgear. A pneumatic cannon was used to deliver baseballs at various speeds (38 m/s, 40.2 m/s, and 42.5 m/s) to several locations (mask, helmet side, helmet top, helmet front) on both styles of helmets and faceguards, which were mounted to a headform. Despite the fact that the front of the hockey style headgear fractured with ball impacts at 40.2 m/s (90 mph), there was significantly less peak acceleration upon impact to the front (p=0.003) and top (p=0.002) of the hockey style helmet compared to the traditional helmet. No other statistically significant differences were noted for any of the remaining impact locations between headgear for peak acceleration (p>0.05) or the Gadd Severity Index (p>0.01). It was concluded that the hockey style helmet provided more protection against ball impact than the traditional helmet. Therefore, these results should be considered when selecting headgear among baseball catchers.
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