December is probably not the time one usually thinks about baseball, but I would suggest that buying your child a protective eye guard for Christmas may be the best gift you could ever give him or her. While I have written in a previous blog about the need for eye protection in all sports, this blog will focus specifically on baseball.
While there is little available data on baseball eye injuries in Canada, the American Academy of Pediatrics states that baseball is the leading cause of sports-related eye injuries in children, the highest incidence occurring in children 5 to 14 years of age.
About one third of all baseball injuries in children come from being hit by a pitch. For this reason it is recommended that children wear batting helmets that are fitted with polycarbonate face guards. It is also recommended that children wear sports eye guards with polycarbonate lenses while they are in the field, since most eye injuries result from balls bouncing off the ground into the eye or being hit through the air into the eye. Polycarbonate lenses have the added advantage of absorbing ultraviolet rays from the sun so that they protect the eye two ways.
The eye guards you choose should fit securely and comfortably, so this may be one present that your child will not unwrap under the Christmas tree. Eye guards are not expensive. You may expect to spend from twenty to forty dollars for a pair and somewhat more for eye guards with prescription lenses. Don’t assume that regular eye glasses will provide the protection your child needs. Make sure you buy a pair of spectacles with polycarbonate lenses in order to get the best protection.
What else can you do to reduce the risk of eye injuries in baseball? Make sure that your league requires all children to wear face guards and eye guards with polycarbonate lenses. This is not a standard requirement in Canada. You can help make a difference for all children.
So this Christmas, give the gift of sight by buying your children the eye protection they may need to make sure that they get the most fun out of baseball next summer.