Chest protectors a wise investment for America's pastime - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Chest protectors a wise investment for America's pastime

(Source: Raycom Media) (Source: Raycom Media)

"America's Pastime," as many know it, is baseball.

Many little athletes begin the fundamentals as soon as they can run. Like all sports, there are health risks.  

A direct ball impact to the chest could mean sudden cardiac arrest for the athlete - the heart can literally stop. It's the second leading cause of death in athletes younger than 14. 

When it comes to protecting your child, the one thing parents are looking for these days has to do with gear that will cover that area of the body. A chest protector can be both a life-saving investment and something that puts a mom's mind at ease.

Lauren Falciani is a baseball mom from Decatur whose son is playing travel ball this year. She says the coach and a family member told her about the protective clothing.

"I knew once I heard about it that I wanted my son to have it, because if there was any chance of him getting hit in the chest with a hard ball, I wanted that extra protection just for my comfort," Falciani said.

She is mom to 7-and-a-half-year-old Cain and 5-year-old Tinley, and wants what is best for her children.   

Mike Burns is the head baseball coach at Calhoun Community College. He is also the father of two players.

"Anything that's going to protect a child is a definite benefit," Burns said. "As a coach and as a father of two pitchers, I would want them to be as protected as possible."

Burns says learning proper field position is also key. 

"Before you put a child on the mound, they need to be able to protect themselves and that means learn to catch a baseball," he said.

Some spectators may not realize how fast the ball can travel, Burns warned. 

"Even at the high school level, you can have a ball exit speed up to 90 or 100 miles per hour. So we always want them, when they follow through, to be square up with the plate, so they can be in a defensive position, in order to protect themselves and field their position," the coach said.

Some protective gear covers the heart area only, others provide more chest coverage. For Lauren, it's all about the kids.   

"It's a great investment in your child," she said.

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