Journal of Athletic EnhancementISSN: 2324-9080

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Comparison of Impact Characteristics of Traditional Style Headgear and Hockey Style Headgear for Baseball Catchers

Comparison of Impact Characteristics of Traditional Style Headgear and Hockey Style Headgear for Baseball Catchers

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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