A new protective baseball cap will be made available to pitchers during the upcoming Major League baseball season, offering additional padding for the forehead, temple and sides of the head.
Safety plates made by isoBLOX are sewn into the new protective hat and will be custom fitted, according to The Associated Press
. The cap will weigh an extra six to seven ounces and about a half-inch thicker in the front and around an inch wider on the sides.
The new baseball cap is being introduced in response to pitchers suffering injuries after being hit by batted balls in recent years, the AP reported, noting Brandon McCarthy's brain contusion and skull fracture when he was struck by a line drive in 2012 and Doug Fister, who was hit during the World Series in October 2012.
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"We talked to a lot of guys who had been through this, and they provided a wealth of information to help us," Bruce Foster, CEO of the 4Licensing Corporation, parent company of isoBLOX, told the AP. "We went through a myriad of different designs to develop this."
Foster said the new cap provides protection from line drives up to 90 mph in the front of the head and 85 mph on the side.
Major League Baseball told its teams that caps will be available after discussion with the players association, according to ESPN's "Outside the Lines."
"We're excited to have a product that meets our safety criteria," Dan Halem, MLB executive vice president for labor relations, told "Outside the Lines." "MLB is committed to working with manufacturers to develop products that offer maximum protection to our players, and we're not stopping at all."
Halem and Patrick Houlihan, MLB senior counsel for labor relations, told ESPN that the threshold for approval was that the cap had to provide protection against ball traveling at 83 miles per hour. ESPN noted that a study commissioned by Major League Baseball determined that 83 mph was the average speed of a line drive when it reaches the pitching mound.
"Obviously, it'd be a change," Los Angeles Dodger pitcher Clayton Kershaw told MLB Network, per ESPN. "I'm definitely not opposed to it. I think it'd take a lot of getting used to. You don't look very cool, I'll be honest."
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