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Are Current Aluminum Baseball Bat Regulations Enough?
States across the country are looking at aluminum bat regulation following the recent lawsuit filed by Ohio teen Cole Schlesner in September 2013. The teen was struck in the head by a baseball hit with an Easton BT265 aluminum bat. Schlesner’s case is quite shocking, but what is even more shocking is that he is not the only teen to suffer extensive injuries from aluminum bats.
Data from the National Center for Catastrophic Injury Research has revealed that there were 52 catastrophic baseball-related injuries between 1983 and 2009. Catastrophic injuries range from traumatic brain injury, to paralysis, to skull fractures, and other injuries resulting in permanent or temporary disablement. Many of these injuries were caused by aluminum bats.
Dangers of Aluminum Baseball Bats
Aluminum baseball bats are capable of causing severe injuries. Aluminum bats are less safe because most of the weight in an aluminum bat is in the handle. This makes metal bats easier to swing, which significantly increases ball speed. A player has only .003 seconds to react to an incoming ball hit by an aluminum bat at 96 miles per hour.
Aluminum bats are responsible for many injuries over the past few decades. Below is just a sampling of the many bat-related accidents that have occurred since 2001:
• In 2001, an Oklahoma high school pitcher was stuck by a line drive off a Hillerich & Bradsby “Air Attack” bat. The teen suffered severe injuries and was awarded actual damages by a jury in 2002.
• In 2003, a former pitcher from Downstate high school sued manufacturer Hillerich & Bradsby over their “Air Attack” aluminum bat after sustaining injuries from a ball hit by the bat and was awarded $80,000 for medical expenses.
• In 2009, a boy was killed after he was struck in the head with a baseball hit by a Hillerich & Bradsby “Air Attack” aluminum bat and his family was awarded $850,000.
• In 2010, California a California teen was hit in the head by a line drive hit off an aluminum bat and nearly died as a result of his injuries. He has not yet sought legal recourse.
• In 2012, a New Jersey boy was left brain damaged after he was struck in the chest by a baseball hit with a Hillerich & Bradsby aluminum bat. His family was awarded over $14 million in damages.
These frequent and serious injuries showcase why so many states and leagues are clamoring for additional regulations or bans on aluminum bats.
(New York Times, August 23, 2012nytimes.com/2012/08/23/nyregion/lawsuit-over-metal-bats-in-little-league-is-settled.html?_r=0,)
(USA Today, October 29, 2009usatoday30.usatoday.com/sports/baseball/2009-10-29-aluminum-bat-lawsuit_N.htm,) (Chicago Tribune, May, 2003 http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2003-05-10/sports/0305100011_1_louisville-slugger-bat-hillerich-bradsby)
Reducing Aluminum Bat Injuries
Current regulations require the use of BBCOR-certified aluminum bats and bats that are BESR (Bat Exit Speed Ratio) certified, according to Little League rules. Aluminum bats cannot weigh more than three ounces less than its length (a 33-inch bat can weigh 30 ounces).
Although the regulations for baseball bats have tightened since 2012, many states still want additional protective measures. States that have already implemented aluminum bat restrictions include New York, Massachusetts, and Illinois. Conferences in Massachusetts, New Mexico, New Jersey, North Dakota, and Pennsylvania have banned the use of aluminum bats altogether; and California currently has pending legislation to further restrict the use of aluminum baseball bats. All of these new regulations hope to lead to fewer injuries in 2014 and beyond.
About Wright & Schulte LLC and Aluminum Baseball Bat Lawsuits
Wright & Schulte LLC, a personal injury firm, is dedicated to the belief that America’s legal system should work for the people. Every day, the attorneys of Wright & Schulte LLC stand up for the rights of people who have been injured by the negligence or misconduct of others. Whether it is a personal injury due to a highway accident, medical malpractice, product liability, nursing home abuse, a construction accident, wrongful death, or any other lawsuits we are always here to answer any questions and help in any way we can. It costs nothing to talk to us, so schedule a free initial consultation. There is no obligation. You can have the advice of a respected legal professional. Contact our office at yourohiolegalhelp.com or by phone at (937)-222-7477 to set up your free appointment.