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Baseball Safety: Should We Ban Non-Wood Bats?

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Opening Day, the first day of the 2011 major league baseball season, was March 31st. The first pitch was thrown a little after 1 p.m., and sometime after that baseball fans heard the first crack of the bat of a brand-new season.

Even nonfans can rejoice at this sign of spring, and a promise that summer days are ahead.

But you won’t hear the crack of the bat very much these days from other diamonds—Little League, high school, and college. It has been replaced by pings and thunks as most players at those levels now use metal bats or composite ones, which that are made with a mixture of materials, including graphite.

Players started using metal (usually aluminum) bats about 30 years ago. They last longer than wooden bats and send the ball farther. The composite models have come on strong more recently.

But there’s growing concern that nonwood bats may pose a safety hazard to fielders—especially pitchers— because they make a hit baseball go faster. The added speed gives fielders less time to react and, if they are hit, increases their risk of injury. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Harvard Health Blog*

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