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NFHS Rules: Catcher's Helmet

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Still waiting to see definitive proof of hockey mask being safer. Until that debate is settled the NFHS cathers mask rule remains dumb in my mind.

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1 hour ago, Minnz said:

Still waiting to see definitive proof of hockey mask being safer. Until that debate is settled the NFHS cathers mask rule remains dumb in my mind.

Why is the burden of proof on the device that protects the entire head? Shouldn't we look for proof that the alternative is just as safe before altering the rule?

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6 hours ago, Minnz said:

Still waiting to see definitive proof of hockey mask being safer. Until that debate is settled the NFHS cathers mask rule remains dumb in my mind.

There's a debate? Huh. I musta missed it. I have no issue believing a helmet that covers the head offers better protection than one that doesn't. BUT don't blindly agree with me. Take a look at the scientific test methods NOCSAE uses to determine that headgear and related equipment is safe:

http://nocsae.org/wp-content/files_mf/1458844362ND08114m15PneumaticRamTestMethod.pdf

http://nocsae.org/wp-content/files_mf/1463597031ND01113m16MfrdProceduralGuideforQualityControlandSampleSelection.pdf

http://nocsae.org/wp-content/files_mf/1490213565ND00115m17DropTestMethod.pdf

http://nocsae.org/wp-content/files_mf/1490287310ND02112m17ProjectileImpactTestMethod.pdf

http://nocsae.org/wp-content/files_mf/1514996961ND00117m17bDropTestMethod.pdf

But I'm no physicist, so I don't understand all the math. I am, however, willing to take NOCSAE's word for it that if equipment passes these tests, they provide at least a decent degree of safety. And a better degree than other equipment -- like a traditional mask/helmet combo that doesn't pass these tests. If this isn't "definitive proof," it should be good enough.

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12 hours ago, ElkOil said:

There's a debate? Huh. I musta missed it. I have no issue believing a helmet that covers the head offers better protection than one that doesn't. BUT don't blindly agree with me. Take a look at the scientific test methods NOCSAE uses to determine that headgear and related equipment is safe:

http://nocsae.org/wp-content/files_mf/1458844362ND08114m15PneumaticRamTestMethod.pdf

http://nocsae.org/wp-content/files_mf/1463597031ND01113m16MfrdProceduralGuideforQualityControlandSampleSelection.pdf

http://nocsae.org/wp-content/files_mf/1490213565ND00115m17DropTestMethod.pdf

http://nocsae.org/wp-content/files_mf/1490287310ND02112m17ProjectileImpactTestMethod.pdf

http://nocsae.org/wp-content/files_mf/1514996961ND00117m17bDropTestMethod.pdf

But I'm no physicist, so I don't understand all the math. I am, however, willing to take NOCSAE's word for it that if equipment passes these tests, they provide at least a decent degree of safety. And a better degree than other equipment -- like a traditional mask/helmet combo that doesn't pass these tests. If this isn't "definitive proof," it should be good enough.

There has been some debate in the umpire community regarding  hockey style helmets and conventional masks. the debate being about which transmits more concussive force. I think, with the catcher being more at risk to follow-thru impact on the side or back of his head, that HSM would be better. Thus FED should mandate the Force 3 NOCSAE HSM. Full head protection with concussion attenuation;)

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54 minutes ago, Jimurray said:

There has been some debate in the umpire community regarding  hockey style helmets and conventional masks. the debate being about which transmits more concussive force. I think, with the catcher being more at risk to follow-thru impact on the side or back of his head, that HSM would be better. Thus FED should mandate the Force 3 NOCSAE HSM. Full head protection with concussion attenuation;)

I would contend that a debate in the scientific community would hold more sway than a debate about the same subject in the umpiring community. Although we have lots of personal experiences, we're not a scientific body (understanding that individuals among us may certainly be scientists who have experience in this field). And I know guys like MadMax have studied this with great enthusiasm.

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8 hours ago, ElkOil said:

I would contend that a debate in the scientific community would hold more sway than a debate about the same subject in the umpiring community. Although we have lots of personal experiences, we're not a scientific body (understanding that individuals among us may certainly be scientists who have experience in this field). And I know guys like MadMax have studied this with great enthusiasm.

As an umpire, I have ZERO interest in which helmet/mask combination works best for a catcher... for me, yes :-)

I look to the rule book and or governing bodies to supply the guidance and from there I will enforce it. I do not have the time, interest or education in concussive force distribution and or sports equipment testing to be competent to provide any opinion on what participants should or should not wear.  

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1 hour ago, Mudisfun said:

As an umpire, I have ZERO interest in which helmet/mask combination works best for a catcher... for me, yes :-)

I look to the rule book and or governing bodies to supply the guidance and from there I will enforce it. I do not have the time, interest or education in concussive force distribution and or sports equipment testing to be competent to provide any opinion on what participants should or should not wear.  

Interestingly, the NCAA rule requires a throat guard, which I assume we take as the bottom of the mask when a skull cap and mask are worn together. They CYA’d their ask. 

“b. Catcher’s Throat Guard. It is required that all catchers have a built-in or attachable throat guard on their masks. 
c. Catcher’s Helmet and Face Mask.  It is required that all catchers shall wear a protective helmet and face mask when fielding their position, warming up a pitcher (ie. between innings) or catching in the bullpen.  It is recommended that all catcher’s helmets bear the manufacturer’s certification indicating satisfaction of NOCSAE test standards. 
PENALTY for b. and c.—The player shall not be allowed to catch but shall not be ejected from the contest.

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Why does NFHS not allow the traditional 2-piece catcher's helmet and mask combination? To me that prohibition makes no sense, because catchers (and umpires) have been adequately protected by the traditional 2-piece combo for years. I would understand if NFHS mandated a Steve Yeager-style throat protector on catcher's masks, but IMHO the earflaps on the mask itself (not on the helmet) provide adequate protection from a ball headed for the ears. On contact, the mask will absorb the blow from the ball, and fall off the catcher's head, leaving the skullcap on for protection. On a play at the plate, if there is a collision with the catcher, the catcher remains protected with a traditional 2-piece combo, because he does not remove the entire protective unit. Should the catcher hit his head in the traditional combo, his skullcap will cushion his brain, and minimize the shaking that results from his head hitting the ground (or batted ball striking the head).

However, the hockey style mask will transmit the blow to the catcher's head on a batted ball (see the video of the Texas A&M catcher's hockey-style mask shattering on impact). On a collision with a hockey style mask, the catcher will have removed the entire helmet for proper visibility, and will be unprotected should even incidental contact happen.

This is why I strongly believe that the traditional helmet-and-mask combination should be legal for high school play, not to mention that it is legal in other leagues (Babe Ruth, NCAA, Pro baseball, Summer leagues using OBR, Adult amateur leagues using OBR). I suspect that the rules requiring NOCSAE equipment are as much of a money grab as they are a safety issue, so they will probably not be changed, alas. Maybe the traditional mask can make the return to high school baseball. I wish:sad:

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13 minutes ago, ilyazhito said:

Why does NFHS not allow the traditional 2-piece catcher's helmet and mask combination? To me that prohibition makes no sense, because catchers (and umpires) have been adequately protected by the traditional 2-piece combo for years. I would understand if NFHS mandated a Steve Yeager-style throat protector on catcher's masks, but IMHO the earflaps on the mask itself (not on the helmet) provide adequate protection from a ball headed for the ears. On contact, the mask will absorb the blow from the ball, and fall off the catcher's head, leaving the skullcap on for protection. On a play at the plate, if there is a collision with the catcher, the catcher remains protected with a traditional 2-piece combo, because he does not remove the entire protective unit. Should the catcher hit his head in the traditional combo, his skullcap will cushion his brain, and minimize the shaking that results from his head hitting the ground (or batted ball striking the head).

However, the hockey style mask will transmit the blow to the catcher's head on a batted ball (see the video of the Texas A&M catcher's hockey-style mask shattering on impact). On a collision with a hockey style mask, the catcher will have removed the entire helmet for proper visibility, and will be unprotected should even incidental contact happen.

This is why I strongly believe that the traditional helmet-and-mask combination should be legal for high school play, not to mention that it is legal in other leagues (Babe Ruth, NCAA, Pro baseball, Summer leagues using OBR, Adult amateur leagues using OBR). I suspect that the rules requiring NOCSAE equipment are as much of a money grab as they are a safety issue, so they will probably not be changed, alas. Maybe the traditional mask can make the return to high school baseball. I wish:sad:

It doesn't provide any protection against a bat, and too many kids may turn their heads and negate any frontal protection a mask would offer. And the idea that a helmet would transmit more force than an unprotected side is simply bizarre. Adults can do as they wish, but for HS kids - and the rules aren't just meant for varsity - and this litiguous society we're in, this seems like a perfectly reasonable position for NFHS to take.

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2 hours ago, ilyazhito said:

Why does NFHS not allow the traditional 2-piece catcher's helmet and mask combination? To me that prohibition makes no sense, because catchers (and umpires) have been adequately protected by the traditional 2-piece combo for years. I would understand if NFHS mandated a Steve Yeager-style throat protector on catcher's masks, but IMHO the earflaps on the mask itself (not on the helmet) provide adequate protection from a ball headed for the ears. On contact, the mask will absorb the blow from the ball, and fall off the catcher's head, leaving the skullcap on for protection. On a play at the plate, if there is a collision with the catcher, the catcher remains protected with a traditional 2-piece combo, because he does not remove the entire protective unit. Should the catcher hit his head in the traditional combo, his skullcap will cushion his brain, and minimize the shaking that results from his head hitting the ground (or batted ball striking the head).

However, the hockey style mask will transmit the blow to the catcher's head on a batted ball (see the video of the Texas A&M catcher's hockey-style mask shattering on impact). On a collision with a hockey style mask, the catcher will have removed the entire helmet for proper visibility, and will be unprotected should even incidental contact happen.

This is why I strongly believe that the traditional helmet-and-mask combination should be legal for high school play, not to mention that it is legal in other leagues (Babe Ruth, NCAA, Pro baseball, Summer leagues using OBR, Adult amateur leagues using OBR). I suspect that the rules requiring NOCSAE equipment are as much of a money grab as they are a safety issue, so they will probably not be changed, alas. Maybe the traditional mask can make the return to high school baseball. I wish:sad:

You have an interesting way of rationalizing how a helmet provides less protection than a non-helmet. See the earlier points that were made about giving the benefit of the doubt to the equipment offering greater coverage. As umpires, we can debate this until we pass out. But all we have to do is enforce the rules.

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For all my years working in professional hockey what I learned from the Certified Athletic Trainers and team Doctors is that baseball is missing a key ingredient to helping concussions that all college football and hockey players must wear and most pros do. A mouth guard. Wearing one of those helps reduce concussions. Hockey players don't wear them to save their teeth it is more for reducing concussions.

I would rather see that required than a one piece catcher's mask.

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8 hours ago, Minnz said:

For all my years working in professional hockey what I learned from the Certified Athletic Trainers and team Doctors is that baseball is missing a key ingredient to helping concussions that all college football and hockey players must wear and most pros do. A mouth guard. Wearing one of those helps reduce concussions. Hockey players don't wear them to save their teeth it is more for reducing concussions.

I would rather see that required than a one piece catcher's mask.

There's an abundance of information from credible scientific sources casting doubt on the claim that mouth guards prevent concussions. The schools of thought have swung from one prevailing side to the other over the years. For every study that says one thing, you'll find one that just as definitively says the opposite.

Personally, I'm not convinced either way. The jury is still out on this topic. 

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1 hour ago, ElkOil said:

There's an abundance of information from credible scientific sources casting doubt on the claim that mouth guards prevent concussions. The schools of thought have swung from one prevailing side to the other over the years. For every study that says one thing, you'll find one that just as definitively says the opposite.

Personally, I'm not convinced either way. The jury is still out on this topic. 

I always equate this to riding bikes when I was a kid. The laws for what side of a street you shoul ride on kept changing depending on what accidents happened.

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On 3/30/2018 at 5:41 PM, Minnz said:

For all my years working in professional hockey what I learned from the Certified Athletic Trainers and team Doctors is that baseball is missing a key ingredient to helping concussions that all college football and hockey players must wear and most pros do. A mouth guard. Wearing one of those helps reduce concussions. Hockey players don't wear them to save their teeth it is more for reducing concussions.

I would rather see that required than a one piece catcher's mask.

+1! Mouth guards are recommended, but very few baseball players use them. Encourage mouthguards, and leave the venerable traditional 2-piece mask alone. I have caught, and I prefer to do so with the traditional mask, and hope that future generations of high school catchers will also have that opportunity. 

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3 hours ago, ilyazhito said:

+1! Mouth guards are recommended, but very few baseball players use them. Encourage mouthguards, and leave the venerable traditional 2-piece mask alone. I have caught, and I prefer to do so with the traditional mask, and hope that future generations of high school catchers will also have that opportunity. 

-1.

There is no definitive science to back up your mouth guard comment, and there is actual science to refute your mask comment. Your preference for protective equipment is not rooted in the safety of high school children. It's one thing to want something for yourself, but it's quite another to want it for "future generations." Why would you possibly want kids more exposed and less protected?

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I also think that mouthguards (might) help against some types of collisions like you see in football, but they might not add much protection against a foulball or bat off the forehead or temple.

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ElkOil, what I meant was that catchers are more protected in a collision situation if they wear a mask and skullcap, because the skullcap will remain on their head after they discard the mask. If catchers wear a one-piece mask, and discard the mask to be able to see, they have no protection at all. In another thread, a user made a comment that umpires need to wear skullcaps with the traditional mask, to improve protection against pitches or batted balls, and do not because of machismo. If the mask and skullcap is an acceptable combination for umpires, then mask and skullcap should be acceptable as a protective combination for catchers.  This combination has served catchers in well stead for many years, and should be reinstated as an option (Catchers should not be mandated to wear a one-piece mask and only that). Give me a link to the "actual science" that you refer to, and I might understand. Otherwise, allow both hockey style and traditional masks, as the NCAA and pro baseball currently do. 

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1 hour ago, ilyazhito said:

ElkOil, what I meant was that catchers are more protected in a collision situation if they wear a mask and skullcap, because the skullcap will remain on their head after they discard the mask. If catchers wear a one-piece mask, and discard the mask to be able to see, they have no protection at all. In another thread, a user made a comment that umpires need to wear skullcaps with the traditional mask, to improve protection against pitches or batted balls, and do not because of machismo. If the mask and skullcap is an acceptable combination for umpires, then mask and skullcap should be acceptable as a protective combination for catchers.  This combination has served catchers in well stead for many years, and should be reinstated as an option (Catchers should not be mandated to wear a one-piece mask and only that). Give me a link to the "actual science" that you refer to, and I might understand. Otherwise, allow both hockey style and traditional masks, as the NCAA and pro baseball currently do. 

Earlier in this thread I posted five links to the actual science I referenced, so read back through the posts and enjoy. There's more than enough information for you.

Regarding collisions, they're illegal now, so I don't see the need for a skull cap to protect against what is now no longer allowed and increasingly rare when you consider the catcher faces thrown and batted balls as a real threat with every single pitch, not to mention follow-through swings and thrown bats.

It doesn't add up. Especially not for high school aged kids. If adult players want to take those chances, they know better. But as long as children play this game, I say keep mandating safety measures for them.

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Has the traditional 2-piece helmet and mask combination (from the multiple companies that make them) been tested in any of the tests that you described, and failed? If so, then I would say that you have a case. If not, then the traditional mask has not been conclusively proven less safe than the HSM.  If there is no conclusive proof, NFHS has no ground to stand on for a mandate. I think we'll have to agree to disagree.

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31 minutes ago, ilyazhito said:

Has the traditional 2-piece helmet and mask combination (from the multiple companies that make them) been tested in any of the tests that you described, and failed? If so, then I would say that you have a case. If not, then the traditional mask has not been conclusively proven less safe than the HSM.  If there is no conclusive proof, NFHS has no ground to stand on for a mandate. I think we'll have to agree to disagree.

I don't profess to know all the answers, which is why I'm fine taking their word for it. It isn't appropriate for umpires to debate the validity of the science since we're neither scientists nor privy to the studies that went into it. Luckily, since NFHS has their rules in place, there's no chance of them adopting your line of thinking and players will be the safer for it. You can stand on the rooftops proclaiming your desire for high schoolers to wear the equipment you espouse, but you're shouting into the wind.

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34 minutes ago, ilyazhito said:

Has the traditional 2-piece helmet and mask combination (from the multiple companies that make them) been tested in any of the tests that you described, and failed? If so, then I would say that you have a case. If not, then the traditional mask has not been conclusively proven less safe than the HSM.  If there is no conclusive proof, NFHS has no ground to stand on for a mandate. I think we'll have to agree to disagree.

By it's nature, the traditional 2-piece helmet and mask can't pass the tests.

 

There are (or were) two-piece units that did pass -- I never saw anyone wear one.

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On 4/2/2018 at 12:19 PM, noumpere said:

By it's nature, the traditional 2-piece helmet and mask can't pass the tests.

 

There are (or were) two-piece units that did pass -- I never saw anyone wear one.

I remember wearing these. They are beyond uncomfortable!

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On ‎3‎/‎24‎/‎2018 at 11:16 PM, ilyazhito said:

Why does NFHS not allow the traditional 2-piece catcher's helmet and mask combination? To me that prohibition makes no sense, because catchers (and umpires) have been adequately protected by the traditional 2-piece combo for years. I would understand if NFHS mandated a Steve Yeager-style throat protector on catcher's masks, but IMHO the earflaps on the mask itself (not on the helmet) provide adequate protection from a ball headed for the ears. On contact, the mask will absorb the blow from the ball, and fall off the catcher's head, leaving the skullcap on for protection. On a play at the plate, if there is a collision with the catcher, the catcher remains protected with a traditional 2-piece combo, because he does not remove the entire protective unit. Should the catcher hit his head in the traditional combo, his skullcap will cushion his brain, and minimize the shaking that results from his head hitting the ground (or batted ball striking the head).

However, the hockey style mask will transmit the blow to the catcher's head on a batted ball (see the video of the Texas A&M catcher's hockey-style mask shattering on impact). On a collision with a hockey style mask, the catcher will have removed the entire helmet for proper visibility, and will be unprotected should even incidental contact happen.

This is why I strongly believe that the traditional helmet-and-mask combination should be legal for high school play, not to mention that it is legal in other leagues (Babe Ruth, NCAA, Pro baseball, Summer leagues using OBR, Adult amateur leagues using OBR). I suspect that the rules requiring NOCSAE equipment are as much of a money grab as they are a safety issue, so they will probably not be changed, alas. Maybe the traditional mask can make the return to high school baseball. I wish:sad:

Don't wish or tilt against windmills.....Here you go......................http://www.nfhs.org/RuleChangeProposal

Edited by Stan W.
clarity

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Thing that blows me away... the move to these has been in the book for what? A decade at the least?

And yet it still has to be a POE because people have to add their own thoughts on the matter.

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On ‎4‎/‎2‎/‎2018 at 2:43 PM, ilyazhito said:

Has the traditional 2-piece helmet and mask combination (from the multiple companies that make them) been tested in any of the tests that you described, and failed? If so, then I would say that you have a case. If not, then the traditional mask has not been conclusively proven less safe than the HSM.  If there is no conclusive proof, NFHS has no ground to stand on for a mandate. I think we'll have to agree to disagree.

Here's an idea.  you can put on a skull cap and let me punch you in the ear (to simulate backswing interference).  If you can get up, we'll then repeat this with a HSM.

 

just sayin'................

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