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Should Metal Bats Be Banned?

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Gunnar Sandberg was hit in the head by a baseball and is in critical condition. Now state lawmakers are calling for a ban on metal bats. Our pediatrician weighs in.

gunnar sandberg

On March 11, 16-year-old high school baseball pitcher Gunnar Sandberg was hit in the left temple by a baseball when a batter using a composite metal bat slammed a line drive into Gunnar's head.

Surgeons removed part of Gunnar's skull and put him in a medically induced coma until last Friday to alleviate swelling of his brain, and Gunnar had a brain scan on Monday. He remains in critical condition at Marin General Hospital in Calif.

Assemblyman Jared Huffman introduced a bill Thursday that would ban aluminium and alloy baseball bats for the next three years, pending further studies on the safety of the bats, reports NBC.

Pediatrician Dr. Alanna Levine is also in favor of fitting pitchers with helmets. "There has been some discussion about whether or not pitchers and infielders should wear helmets and protective mouth gear, because if a child is hit by a baseball, it is more likely to affect the head and teeth than other parts of the body," she says. "That is something that I feel needs further investigation."

Baseball moms: Do you feel that metal bats should be outlawed? Comment below.

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7 comments so far | Post a comment now
Baseball Mom March 26, 2010, 4:41 PM

Manufacturers should be held responsible to contribute to the development of safety accessories regardless of the sport equipment they supply the public. In the case of wood or aluminum/alloy bats they would only stand to gain in public perception for both the quality of the bat as well as the headgear to protect you from the fallout. Testing processes to ensure the helmetry meets certain standards would or could become similar to the auto industry using state of the art materials regulated or at least mandated by crash testing procedures.
Both wood and metal pose similar hazards if you are caught unprepared on field.

Lisa R. March 26, 2010, 5:05 PM

I’m a little confused. The boy was hit with a ball, correct? He wasn’t hit with the bat. So, do metal/aluminum bats hit the ball harder, make it go further, faster? I’ve always thought aluminum bats were more dangerous, but a wooden bat can do some serious damage as well. My heart breaks for this family, and I will pray for the boy, but I’m not understanding the ban on bats when he was hit with a baseball.

Also, could a pitcher accurately pitch if he was wearing a hard helmet?

Anonymous March 27, 2010, 9:22 AM

My son is a little league pitcher and I worry about it. Yes metal is designed with composites inside it that make the ball go way farther and faster than wood. I know he loves his metal bat but if it were a league rule to go to all wood, I wouldn’t complain. The only problem with that is that wood breaks and the shards and flying bat parts are also hazards. Maybe we need to rethink all this and design infielder helmet/cap protection. I’m not sure.

wm March 29, 2010, 11:29 AM

While logic and observation dictates metal bats are more dangerous, the statistics do not bear it out. In all the years I’ve been coaching and watching baseball I’ve only seen one pitcher get drilled by a batted ball. He was knocked unconscious. He eventually got up and walked off the field. It was my son. It’s the risk you accept allowing your son to play sports.

If government bans metal bats the metal bat makers will fight it in court. If conferences, district/sections or state athletic associations chose to switch to wood there’s nothing the metal bat makers can do about it.

My high school age son played all wood bat last summer. My argument is wood bats make for a better quality game. The scores with wood bat are more like 5-3 rather than 8-6 with metal. The question for parents is, “Do you want quality baseball or high batting averages for your kids?”

anonomous April 15, 2010, 8:05 PM

you are all completley wrong. none of you know anything about baseball (clearly). things like this are, indeed, tragic, but it happens no matter what material bat you use. we should ban cars and go back to horses- cars hit people somtimes- right?

anonomous April 15, 2010, 8:05 PM

you are all completley wrong. none of you know anything about baseball (clearly). things like this are, indeed, tragic, but it happens no matter what material bat you use. we should ban cars and go back to horses- cars hit people somtimes- right?

chucky cheese April 18, 2011, 11:46 AM

It is baseball you get hit with the ball. I have been playing for 40 years and coaching for 10 years. My son of 7 years old got hit in the mouth by a pitcher 2 weeks ago. I explained to him he needed to turn into the pitch and take the hit correctly. It still hurts but it won’t disfigure your face. Good thing he learns this now. I won’t buy him a helmet with a face guard either. He got on first and ended up scoring. As a pitcher maybe Gunner had no business on the mound if he can’t get out of the way or catch the ball. I have had many balls hit at my head at 100mph+ and either caught them or got out of the way. I have been hit on other parts of my body with fast balls and made the play then went out because the swelling happens quick. ITS BASEBALL!!! This helmet stuff should be optional. Or put this type of person in center field and hope the ball doesn’t land on top of his head. It is not anybody’s fault this happened he just had no business on the mound if he can’t catch or get out of the way. I have seen coaches put a kid on the mound because he throws fast but can’t catch. This is an accident waiting to happen. Could gunner catch? How long had he been playing baseball? Did anybody ask these questions?

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