Aluminum Bats Pose Safety Concerns

By: Ryan Dearbone Email
By: Ryan Dearbone Email

Recently, New York City banned Little Leaguers from using aluminum bats citing injury concerns. But could these bats used in Little League, high school and even college baseball for more than 30 years really be more harmful than wooden bats?

Any given night, you can find Gigi Cook doing all she can to support her son Quentin's Little League baseball squad, the Bowling Green East All-Stars.

"We're trying to get some shirts together for hopefully when we win the district," Cook said.

She's hoping her son's team will win a championship this year and Gigi's certainly not concerned about the aluminum bat he's using during games.

"I think they're safe enough. Wooden bats, you may hit harder or stronger but aluminum bats are what the younger kids ought to use," she explained.

Cook said her son has a lot of experience with this type of bat.

"He's always used an aluminum bat. We've never used the wooden bats," Cook told WBKO.

Franklin-Simpson Wildcat Coach, Todd Caudill, said his team uses the metal bats so they can stay competitive. He said the aluminum bats do perform differently than a regular wooden bat.

"I don't know that they're more dangerous but I definitely think the ball comes off much quicker off of the bats," Caudill said.

Umpire John Sivley said the excess speed the bats create can add a certain amount of danger to using these bats.

"There's more velocity on the ball and it's being played on a some what smaller field, so there is a certain amount of risk with an aluminum bat as opposed to a wooden bat," Sivley explained.

Even so, he's never seen an incident where a metal bat caused serious injury to a child.

Cook said no matter what bat her son's is swinging with, she'll be glued to the bleachers every game.

"We're ball junkies, that's for sure," she said.

Umpire Sivley said players are given the option to wear chest protectors under their uniforms. Beginning in 2008, the Little League will introduce the Bat Performance Ratio. This new rule will mean all metal bats must have a Little League stamp of approval before they can be used in games.

To read statements issued by USA Baseball's Youth Committee on non-wood bats, log on to http://littleleague.org/media/USA_Youth_Baseball_012507.asp.

To see figures on total reported injuries to pitches for both baseball and softball, click here.


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