There Is One Crucial Piece of Safety Gear So Many Baseball Parents Overlook


As a brand new baseball parent, there’s a lot I don’t know. How do you choose a proper glove? What size bat is best? How do you read this fancy playoff schedule bracket thingy?

Of larger concern for any new baseball parent is the issue of safety. From helmets to jock straps and proper warm-ups to hydration and sunscreen, it’s everyone’s job to keep our kids safe on the field. One thing I never considered, however, was the importance of protecting my son’s heart ― until now.

Baseball dad John Curtin described what he called “one of the scariest moments I ever had with my kids” in a recent Facebook post:

“For all you parents that have children that pitch, do me a favor and run out and buy a heart guard shirt for your child. My 11 year old Ryan wears one and it literally might have saved his life today. He was pitching and one of the hardest hit line drives came back and hit him straight dead center in the chest and the heart guard absorbed the hit.”

How scary! But wait, what’s a heart guard shirt and why don’t I (or the other team parents) know about them? My 9-year-old son is pitching this season and of all my fears, a line drive straight to the head was (perhaps foolishly) my biggest one.

Heart guard shirts worn under a uniform, contain special padding designed to help protect athletes from severe trauma to the chest, a condition that can result in commotio cordis, which is described as a “blunt, nonpenetrating trauma to the chest resulting in irregular heart rhythm and often leading to sudden death,” according to NCBI.

While rare, commotio cordis does happen and the results are often fatal.

NCBI reports, “There are more than 190 reported cases of commotio cordis in the United States. Forty-seven percent of reported cases occurred during athletic participation. Commotio cordis is the second-most common cause of sudden cardiac death in athletes.”

While waiting for chest x-rays for his son at a nearby urgent care center, Curtin revealed:

“He was in a lot of pain but a lot better than the alternative. The other coach is an emt and said if he didn’t have that on that he might have been giving my son cpr.”

Thank goodness the young pitcher is on the mend. Like the 74K people who have shared Curtin’s message, I, too, plan to spread the word about the importance of these shirts designed to protect the hearts of young athletes (and their parents alike).

Curtin sums up his experience on the field that day with “just some advice” for parents regarding these shirts as a protective measure, “$30 to $50 no brainer.”

I agree with all my heart.

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