Find the right of softball safety

Despite the name, a softball is not soft. A softball is about twelve inches in circumference – three inches larger than a baseball. Thousands of children in the United States are treated in emergency rooms for baseball and softball-related injuries. Softball injuries to the head are involved more than any other part of the body.

The following safety tips are designed to help children play safe and prevent injury on the baseball or softball fields.

Softball Equipment Safety:

Children should use always use proper safety gear when playing. This equipment includes catcher’s gear, athletic supporters and cups, protective eyewear, and proper footware (which may include cleats). Good quality, double-eared helmets should be worn to protect the ear and temple region against ball impact. Catchers should also wear a helmet with full face and throat protection. Have your child use the appropriate safety gear including batting helmets, catcher’s gear, athletic supporters/ cups and protective eyewear for children with glasses or contacts. Inspect playing equipment (bats, balls and gloves) to make sure it is in good condition. Encourage your child to wear cleats to reduce slips and falls. Make sure they are aware of the injury potential when sliding into a base.
Breakaway/quick release bases should be used instead of standard stationary bases to reduce the impact forces generated from of a sliding player.

Protective screening should be used to protect players in dugouts and on benches, and the playing fields and facilities should be well-maintained. The playing field and facilities should be free of garbage and debris, and there should be no sinkholes, stumps or rocks in the infield or outfield. Fences, walls and posts should be padded to help prevent injury if players run in to them when attempting to catch a ball.

All equipment should be inspected regularly to make sure it is in good condition.

Playing The Game:

Children should be taught how to play softball correctly, and they should play with other children of the same skill level, physical maturity and weight. Players should be taught to perform proper streaching and strenghtening techniques before playing.

Players should wear sunscreen with an SPF (sun protection factor) of 30 or higher. The sunscreen also should be sweat and water-resistant and reapplied every two to three hours.

The coach should be made away of the player’s medical conditions. A child should not play if he or she is experiencing persistent pain, a loss of motion, or any other abnormalities.

All players need to be kept hydrated. Water should be made available before, during and after all games and practices. Water is best, but sports drinks and juices can be decent alternatives. Avoid caffinated drinks, as caffine is a diuretic, which acts to dehydrate the body.

In the Case of an Injury:

Adult supervision should always be present, and a person certified in CPR and first aid needs to be present at all practices and games.

Keep your child safe while playing ball this summer with these tips.

1. Make sure that your child wears all of the proper safety gear.

2. Check all of his or her equipment to see if it is in good condition.

3. Teach your child how to properly slide, throw and bat to prevent injury.

4. Make sure to have plenty of water, sports drinks and juices available.

5. Have plenty of adult supervision and a first aid kit present at games and practices.

6. Let your child’s coach know if your child has any medical conditions.

7. Have your child wear sweat and waterproof sunscreen.

8. Clear any debris off the field and check the surface for bumps or holes.

Fruit and bottled water make excellent, safe snacks for most children and provide natural sugars for staying energized in the game.

  • Pitching Too Long or Too Many Innings — Many injuries occur from excessive pitching. Most organized baseball leagues have guidelines about the number of innings that can be pitched, usually based on the player’s age. While there is no concrete guideline for the number of pitches allowed, a reasonable approach is to count the number of pitches thrown and use 80 to 100 pitches as a maximum in a game, and 30 to 40 pitches in a practice. Any persistent pain should disqualify a person from playing until pain subsides.
  • Breakaway bases — Many players get injured while sliding into bases. Installing breakaway bases on playing fields could significantly lower the number of these mishaps. A breakaway base is snapped onto grommets attached to an anchored rubber mat that holds it in place during play. When a runner slides into the base, it can be dislodged to avoid direct contact and injury. During normal base running, the breakaway base is stable and will not detach.
  • Protective gear — Protective equipment is one of the most important factors in minimizing the risk of injury in baseball. This equipment must fit properly and be worn correctly.
    Wear a batting helmet at the plate, when waiting a turn at bat, and when running bases.

    • Face masks that are attached to batting helmets are available in some youth leagues. These devices can help reduce the risk of a serious facial injury if hit by a ball.
    • The catcher must always use a catcher’s mitt. If you play another position, ask your coach about specific size requirements for your mitt.
    • Catchers should always wear a helmet, face mask, throat guard, long-model chest protector, protective supporter, and shin guards when catching batting practice and during games.
    • Most youth leagues prohibit the use of shoes with steel spikes. Instead, wear molded, cleated baseball shoes.
  • Inspect the playing field for holes, glass, rocks, and other debris.
  • Stay in condition year-round with some form of regular exercise. Start with something as simple as brisk walking.
  • Someone (a teammate, referee or spectator) should know first aid. Make sure someone on your team carries first aid equipment, particularly ice or ice packs.
  • Don’t go straight from your car onto the field. Arrive early and warm up with a walk or an easy jog. With sports where there are bursts of vigorous activity interspersed with inactivity, it’s a good idea to move around or stretch during the idle periods.
  • Stretch before the game, but not when your muscles are cold. Warm up a little first, and then stretch gently. Afterwards, if you have had a vigorous workout, you can stretch more intensely. Learn stretches that are appropriate for your sport. Getting your muscles warmed up and stretched out prior to game time or practice can alleviate sprains, strains and muscle pulls injuries.
  • Drink plenty of water or other fluids such as sports drinks during and after the game.
  • Teach yourself not to play through pain. If you get injured, see your doctor. Follow all the doctor’s orders for recovery, and get the doctor’s OK before your child returns to play. If you start to feel pain, discomfort or fatigue, get your coach to put in a substitute. Don’t overdo it.