Parents To Sue Little League over Metal Bat

May 20, 2008 11:05 AM
by Lindsey Chapman
A pending lawsuit by the parents of a disabled youth league pitcher renews debate over the safety and use of metal bats in youth baseball.

30-Second Summary

The parents of a former youth baseball player say they will file a lawsuit after their son was severely disabled from being struck by a baseball hit with a metal bat.

The case renews a longstanding debate over the safety of metal bats in baseball. Advocates say metal bats improve player performance, and their increased durability makes them more economical than wood.

Critics are worried about the dangers metal bats may pose because baseballs fly off them faster, giving pitchers and other players in the field less time to get out of the way of a hard-hit ball.

A Montana baseball player was killed in 2003 after a baseball hit his left temple; another player in Pennsylvania lost an eye after being hit by a line drive from a metal bat.

Statistical evidence is not conclusive about the dangers of metal versus wooden bats, however. The Consumer Product Safety Commission has noted that players have died from balls hit by both types of bats, and advocates using protective equipment such as faceguards and softer-than-standard balls.

Little League International says that there are few, if any, facts showing that wooden bats are safer for players to use. Little League spokesperson Steve Keener said the league focuses on player safety and if there was a concern, Little League would “be the first in line to address it.”

New York City and North Dakota have both banned metal bats in school baseball games. New Jersey is considering similar action.

Headline Link: Parents of disabled boy plan lawsuit over metal baseball bats

Background: History and performance of metal bats

Opinion & Analysis: Arguments for and against metal bats, NYC’s ban on metal bats in school games

Related Topic: Baseball safety

Reference: Baseball Web Guide


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