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Thinking of going with a hockey style helmet and have questions


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As you may know, one of my goals is to umpire at the collegiate level.  I have a collegiate level mentor thanks to someone on this forum who put me in touch with the guy; he's been guiding me quite a bit.  

Anyway, you may recall my post about officiating other sports and how I got into boxing -- I was a boxer as a youth (I look like a nerdy white guy from Iowa, because I am, but I was actually quite accomplished as an amateur boxer at 34-2-0 with 24 KOs).  I'm now working high school and travel ball, and the pitchers are much faster than they were when I was doing LL and rec league.  Working the slot protects me from most fouls, and thankfully the catchers have moved up in skill, too.  But as you know, every now and then a foul ball tags me.  Given my past in both boxing and combat, I figure I've had somewhere around 40 concussions.  My doctor's jaw hit the floor when I told him that.  

 

Bottom line is I need to prevent #41 at all costs.  Back when I was boxing, no one really understood the long term negative effects of concussions, but now the data is very clear.  My number is already excessively high.  So as I move up, I'm thinking of going with a hockey helmet to prevent concussion #41.  They are not cheap, and like all my tools, I want them to do their job well and only buy them once.  I don't want to dislike a helmet and have to buy a new one!  I also want it to absorb most of the shock from a college pitcher, since that's where I'm trying to go.

Force 3:  Brand name means quality.  The spring system and pads look like it would absorb a lot of shock.  Some umpires have told me they barely feel the hard ones.  HOWEVER, the manufacturer says it is for sizes 7 1/8 through 7 1/2.  I wear a 6 7/8.  My tiny head might swim around in there.  How much will this affect me?

Wilson:  The reviews I've seen online are mixed, but all the negative reviews are from people with big heads.  I have a little head, so it should probably fit me the best.  But it doesn't have the spring system of the Force 3, and I'm wondering if it absorbs shock as well.  

I want to be able to wear sunglasses with this, but I don't think that will be a problem with either.  

Your thoughts, please?

Secondary question:  Eventually I'd like to get a plate coat because I like the look.  Would it be weird to wear the modern hockey style mask with the old school plate coat?

 

EDIT:  After speaking with the manufacturer, I discovered they make a youth model of the same helmet.  It's the same helmet as the adult version, made with the same materials and quality, etc., just sized to fit the smaller heads.  My head size is right in the middle of their youth model's sizing, so I went ahead and ordered it.  It should be here next week.

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Personally, F3 is the only HSM I would consider at this time.  The All Star MVP HSM's are very comfortable and protective, but I feel the F3 is the ultimate in umpire safety.  I've had my "bell rung" in both an All Star MVP2400 and a concussion while wearing the FM4K MAG.

I've never used the F3 HSM, but the F3 traditional mask is IMHO the safest umpire mask out there today.  Yes, it's a bit heavier than most and some don't like leather pads, but you simply don't feel the impacts.  When you get hit, there's a weird "tink" noise and that's it - after awhile you begin to realize, that "tink" noise was the impact of the ball depressing the springs and they're rebounding out again!  You don't have a headache, you don't have a concussion and you're building neck muscle! :wave:

 

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@mac266, I don't use a HSM but, I like your thinking here. I am very close to pulling the trigger on a skull cap and if I aspire to beyond Varsity...well, it'll be HSM. Assuming, like you, I can find something that fits and has acceptable sight lines.

I'm not sure of your age and it's none of my business but, I would try and avoid thinking you only want to buy gear once. That is certainly ideal but one thing this forum has encouraged me to do is become open to new and different approaches to gear and protection. Two years ago, I saw the AS FM Magnesium and thought $225 was an outrageous price tag for an umpire's mask. Last fall after seeing an amazing video from the guys at AS, I bought one and it's my current P1 mask. Same thing when I needed new shin guards. There is a lot going on with the F3 shinguards but, they are pricey. And to a man, I have yet to meet someone who said they don't like their F3 shinguards. So, I bought those too and I am very happy with them.

Of course a man could go into serious debt chasing down each and every trend in equipment. Many retailers like Amazon and Ump-Attire.com offer friendly return policies to make it easier to try stuff on with minimal financial risk. Suffice to say, the higher level of baseball an umpire works, I think the more observant he needs to be of protective gear and what's available out there. Umpire gear technology has historically been slow to change. But, that is changing and it's a snowball effect. I'm sure in 5 years I'll have traded out my gear for whatever new stuff has come along.

Regarding plate coats and HSM's...I see no problem with that but, I'm not your evaluator nor your assignor. Check with those to whom you report to and get their blessing...once you have it, you're good to go.

~Dawg

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hand on heart, scouts' honor, I will never pooh-pooh an umpire for wearing a HSM instead of a TM. I will, however, be merciless if that umpire is wearing the wrong size, wearing the wrong model (think: their son's beat-up Louisville Slugger HSM, with the pads practically gone) for the game context, or wearing it in "arrogant ignorance" (think: the guy in the locker room spoutin' off that his HSM somehow qualifies him to do MLB games). 

With that said... @mac266, I've read everything you've presented as factors for your decision. 

 

On 5/24/2021 at 7:52 AM, mac266 said:

Secondary question:  Eventually I'd like to get a plate coat because I like the look.  Would it be weird to wear the modern hockey style mask with the old school plate coat?

Not at all. Check Ed Hickox and Greg Gibson wearing All-Star MVPs with their plate coats...

On 5/24/2021 at 10:57 PM, BT_Blue said:

You can go back and find photos of Greg Gibson wearing his Wilson Shock and a plate coat.

Greg Gibson? Nope. He wore a MVP. 

sep-26-2011-san-francisco-ca-usa-mlb-ump   boston-red-sox-manager-terry-francona-l- 

hqdefault.jpg

Another famous user of an All-Star MVP and wore a plate coat was Ed Hickox:

Kansas+City+Royals+v+Minnesota+Twins+hok

 

You're likely thinking of Gary Cederstrom:

st-louis-cardinals-albert-pujols-complai

april-12-2010-san-francisco-ca-usa-home-

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1 hour ago, BT_Blue said:

I'm surprised you didn't include a photo of CB with his All Star.

I couldn't locate a good photo of Bucknor in the All-Star MVP and a plate coat.

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Just now, MadMax said:

I couldn't locate a good photo of Bucknor in the All-Star MVP and a plate coat.

I actually can't recall SEEING CB in a plate coat. He usually goes long sleeve.

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You probably saw my post with all the issues I had getting a hold of a Force 3 HSM.  So I bought an All Star from Ump-Attire.  I think I've called 10 games or so behind the plate since buying it, but I haven't taken any head shots to give a full review of the helmet.  I suppose that means I'm working the slot correctly, anyway.

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On 6/22/2021 at 8:10 AM, mac266 said:

You probably saw my post with all the issues I had getting a hold of a Force 3 HSM.  So I bought an All Star from Ump-Attire.  I think I've called 10 games or so behind the plate since buying it, but I haven't taken any head shots to give a full review of the helmet.  I suppose that means I'm working the slot correctly, anyway.

I'm beginning to be a believer that All Star gear has anti impact properties. I have yet to get him in the face (FM4K MAG), head (Cobalt Skully), or the chest (Cobalt cp). However, it is NOT 100% ball resistant. As I have been hit in areas adjacent to these items. YMMV

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3 hours ago, BT_Blue said:

I'm beginning to be a believer that All Star gear has anti impact properties. I have yet to get him in the face (FM4K MAG), head (Cobalt Skully), or the chest (Cobalt cp). However, it is NOT 100% ball resistant. As I have been hit in areas adjacent to these items. YMMV

Yeah it varies...my mileage on new skully: 2 games, 2 head shots. Still felt them. That said, day prior I had taken a hard shot with the uncap on. Felt that one too. But no concussions. 3 days, 3 head shots. After a string of at least 25 without getting touched. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ 

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I just did a state tourney and one of my partners wore a HSM and used a balloon protector. These were 10yo "b" level, he took a shot to the face and it rang his bell decent, made me question the level of protection provided because it didn't spin off.

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17 hours ago, mark38090 said:

I just did a state tourney and one of my partners wore a HSM and used a balloon protector. These were 10yo "b" level, he took a shot to the face and it rang his bell decent, made me question the level of protection provided because it didn't spin off.

Some times masks don't spin off. However, he could have also have been wearing it to tight. Without seeing it in person. It is all just guesswork on our part.

As for the balloon.... if I was working this weekend, YOU COULD BET YOUR ASS I would be using one! We are supposed to get over 100 degrees here in Portland. And not just break, but SHATTER the record high this weekend!

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On 6/23/2021 at 11:09 PM, BT_Blue said:

I'm beginning to be a believer that All Star gear has anti impact properties. I have yet to get him in the face (FM4K MAG), head (Cobalt Skully), or the chest (Cobalt cp). However, it is NOT 100% ball resistant. As I have been hit in areas adjacent to these items. YMMV

I have been hit multiple times in my CP. Worth it.

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