Nav: Home

Review finds poor compliance with helmet use in baseball and softball

October 30, 2017

TORONTO, Oct. 30, 2017--Despite lower rates of traumatic brain injuries in baseball and softball, there is poor compliance overall with helmet use and return-to-play guidelines following a concussion across all levels of play, according to a new systematic review.

The review, published online today in Frontiers in Neurology, examined 29 studies that collectively identified 242,731 baseball-and-softball related traumatic brain injuries sustained between 1982 and 2015.

The researchers found that although baseball and softball had the lowest rate of traumatic head injuries of 15 other sports, serious brain injuries occurred once in about every 2,000 games.

"Our review demonstrates that traumatic brain injury in baseball and softball affects players of all levels and all positions," said Dr. Michael Cusimano, a neurosurgeon and scientist at St. Michael's Hospital and lead author on the study. "Although the risk for traumatic brain injury is lower in baseball than other, high-contact sports like hockey and football, because the injuries can lead to very serious injuries like skull fractures and bleeding in the brain caused by balls or bats, it should be considered equally as serious and addressed in a way that reflects that."

The review showed that all the formal baseball and softball leagues examined in the studies had rules that require helmets, but in the five studies that examined the use of protective equipment during traumatic brain injuries, players were wearing helmets in only seven per cent of baseball and softball-related traumatic brain injuries that required a visit to an emergency department, according to the authors.

For youth baseball, traumatic brain injuries accounted for six per cent of all baseball-related injuries. Concussions were also among the top 10 injuries that caused players to miss games, and the most common cause of catastrophic injury in professional baseball, according to the review.

Other key findings from the review, according to the authors, include:
  • Among younger players, the most common mechanism of injury was being struck by a bat. For children ages 5-9, being hit by a bat accounted for 54 per cent of traumatic brain injuries in boys and 61 per cent in girls.
  • Among older players (ages 10-19 and beyond), the most common mechanism of injury was being struck by the baseball for both male and female players
  • Across all ages and for both male and female players, rates of traumatic brain injury were four times higher in games than in practices
Based on this review of these injuries, the authors are calling for mandatory helmet use at all positions at all levels of youth baseball and softball.

"There is enough evidence to lead me to believe that if all players in all positions wore helmets, these severe injuries could be largely eliminated," said Dr. Cusimano.

In addition, the authors recommended educating athletes, parents and coaches about traumatic brain injury, its symptoms and importance in preventing and reporting injuries.

They added that leagues, parents and coaches should be compliant with current return to school and return to sport guidelines after concussions.

Dr. Cusimano said that further advances in the safety of the game would require universal helmet use, engineering of new helmet, ball and bat designs to minimize the force of an impact, economic incentives and deterrents including fines, insurance rates and the price of equipment, as well as continued surveillance and evaluation of injury prevention strategies.

"All players, parents, coaches, trainers, teachers, league officials, and sponsors must come together to reduce these preventable injuries," he said.
-end-
This study received funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

About St. Michael's Hospital

St. Michael's Hospital provides compassionate care to all who enter its doors. The hospital also provides outstanding medical education to future health care professionals in 29 academic disciplines. Critical care and trauma, heart disease, neurosurgery, diabetes, cancer care, care of the homeless and global health are among the hospital's recognized areas of expertise. Through the Keenan Research Centre and the Li Ka Shing International Healthcare Education Centre, which make up the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, research and education at St. Michael's Hospital are recognized and make an impact around the world. Founded in 1892, the hospital is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto.

Media contacts

For media inquiries, please contact:

Kelly O'Brien
Communications Adviser - Media, St. Michael's Hospital
416-864-5047
obrienkel@smh.ca

St. Michael's Hospital

Related Traumatic Brain Injury Articles:

Dealing a therapeutic counterblow to traumatic brain injury
A team of NJIT biomedical engineers are developing a therapy which shows early indications it can protect neurons and stimulate the regrowth of blood vessels in damaged tissue.
Predictors of cognitive recovery following mild to severe traumatic brain injury
Researchers have shown that higher intelligence and younger age are predictors of greater cognitive recovery 2-5 years post-mild to severe traumatic brain injury (TBI).
Which car crashes cause traumatic brain injury?
Motor vehicle crashes are one of the most common causes of TBI-related emergency room visits, hospitalizations and deaths.
Traumatic brain injury and kids: New treatment guidelines issued
To help promote the highest standards of care, and improve the overall rates of survival and recovery following TBI, a panel of pediatric critical care, neurosurgery and other pediatric experts today issued the third edition of the Brain Trauma Foundation Guidelines for the Management of Pediatric Severe TBI.
Addressing sleep disorders after traumatic brain injury
Amsterdam, NL, December 10, 2018 - Disorders of sleep are some of the most common problems experienced by patients after traumatic brain injury (TBI).
Rutgers researchers discover possible cause for Alzheimer's and traumatic brain injury
Rutgers researchers discover a possible cause for Alzheimer's and traumatic brain injury, and the new mechanism may have also led to the discovery of an effective treatment.
Traumatic brain injury recovery via petri dish
Researchers in the University of Georgia's Regenerative Bioscience Center have succeeded in reproducing the effects of traumatic brain injury and stimulating recovery in neuron cells grown in a petri dish.
Traumatic brain injury may be associated with increased risk of suicide
An increased risk of suicide was associated with those residents of Denmark who sought medical attention for traumatic brain injury (TBI) compared with the general population without TBI in a study that used data from Danish national registers.
Traumatic brain injury: Discovery of two molecules could lead to new drug treatments
After 10 years of research, a Rutgers-led team of scientists has identified two molecules that protect nerve cells after a traumatic brain injury and could lead to new drug treatments.
Cognitive training reduces depression, rebuilds injured brain structure & connectivity after traumatic brain injury
New research from the Center for BrainHealth at The University of Texas at Dallas shows that certain cognitive training exercises can help reduce depression and improve brain health in individuals years after they have suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI).
More Traumatic Brain Injury News and Traumatic Brain Injury Current Events

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2019.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Risk
Why do we revere risk-takers, even when their actions terrify us? Why are some better at taking risks than others? This hour, TED speakers explore the alluring, dangerous, and calculated sides of risk. Guests include professional rock climber Alex Honnold, economist Mariana Mazzucato, psychology researcher Kashfia Rahman, structural engineer and bridge designer Ian Firth, and risk intelligence expert Dylan Evans.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#541 Wayfinding
These days when we want to know where we are or how to get where we want to go, most of us will pull out a smart phone with a built-in GPS and map app. Some of us old timers might still use an old school paper map from time to time. But we didn't always used to lean so heavily on maps and technology, and in some remote places of the world some people still navigate and wayfind their way without the aid of these tools... and in some cases do better without them. This week, host Rachelle Saunders...
Now Playing: Radiolab

Dolly Parton's America: Neon Moss
Today on Radiolab, we're bringing you the fourth episode of Jad's special series, Dolly Parton's America. In this episode, Jad goes back up the mountain to visit Dolly's actual Tennessee mountain home, where she tells stories about her first trips out of the holler. Back on the mountaintop, standing under the rain by the Little Pigeon River, the trip triggers memories of Jad's first visit to his father's childhood home, and opens the gateway to dizzying stories of music and migration. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.