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Problem Solver - August 2012

Preventing Injuries on the Ballfield


While baseball is a relatively safe sport, injuries can occur. While nothing can be made perfectly safe, you can protect children and adults from injuries associated with sliding into bases on your ballfield.

Q: What can we do to reduce the risk of injury on our ballfield?

A: The most common ballfield injuries—about 55 percent—occur when runners slide into a base. Almost half (47 percent) of all runner's injuries result in fractures. This is why is makes sense to install safety bases at leagues, parks and schools. A study published in Pediatrics, the Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, suggested this measure to reduce ballfield injuries, and many Little Leagues require such bases.

Traditional stationary bases include two parts: a metal post sunk into the ground and fixed in concrete and a pillow base bolted to a metal pole that fits into this base. This results in rigid, unmoving bases—it takes 3,500 pounds of force to dislodge one of these bases.

Newer releasable bases consist of three major parts. Similar to traditional bases, a metal pole is sunk into the ground and fixed in concrete. From there, a rubber mat is bolted to a pole that's inserted into the ground, and a separate pillow then fits onto the rubber mat. When players just step onto the base, it stays in place, but if a runner slides hard into the base, the pillow releases from the mat.

Q: What else should I know?

A: Since 2008, the Little League has required all local leagues to use bases that can disengage from the anchor. If you have Little League teams playing on your fields, you'll need to install this type of base to be sure your field is in compliance with the organization's requirements.

And the good news is that you won't have to start from scratch. In most cases, no permanent changes to your existing below-ground infrastructure will be required. Some systems fit onto base anchors in cement below the ground. In addition, it is easy to remove and store the bases when the game is over.



FOR MORE INFORMATION

Soft Touch Bases: 866-544-2077
www.softtouchbases.com


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