February FACEMASK Awareness Month | softball is for girls

It’s February. And February means that many of us are starting our new seasons, whether it be for recreation leagues, travel and select ball or school ball. (Or all of the above)

The smell of fresh-cut grass, and having our hair full of brick-dust from sitting by the dusty fields – morning sunrise and sunsets, and the sting of wind and sun on our faces is right around the corner. All we need is Mother Nature to cooperate….and we are there. Baseball and softball season will be upon us.

At SIFG, we try very hard not to lecture – or not to offer concrete opinions about some of the ‘issues’ that plague us. We like to offer food for thought, and call on the input of the collective experiences of one another to help everyone. And this works. And when it comes to wearing facemasks….whether to wear them or not – whether they should be mandatory or not, whether they are a no-brainer or not – whether they are necessary or not, is no exception to our rule.

We can offer the information, and YOU can decide what is right for you and your daughter.

And we can HELP change the ‘stigma’ associated with wearing a mask.

(And we also have some GREAT NEW SHIRTS that make facemasks look even COOLER!) 

This debate can get heated – and many people resort to name calling those that choose not have their daughters wear a facemask when playing. While others come up with some pretty ‘less than accurate’ reasons why girls shouldn’t wear them. As of right now, to wear a facemask or not to wear a facemask is still a choice….a personal decision. We do believe at some point, unfortunately probably when a young girl dies from taking a ball to the face – facemasks or infielders will be mandatory.

In all fairness, we will have to admit. We have 4 daughters that play competitive softball. 2 that pitch. 1 that plays middle infield. And a little one just starting out. Our pitcher daughters wear a facemask, and would not take the pitching rubber without it. It is as natural to them as wearing cleats. Our middle infielder,  does not wear one. And our littlest wears one because she’s terrified of the ball and it has enabled her to have the confidence to learn to catcher better.

All that being said, the things that we cannot stand hearing is that face-masks are for sissies. That wearing a face mask will make a college coach not look at a player. (Biggest lie ever sold)  That wearing a face mask is a sign of weakness. That if girls learn how to field, and play properly they won’t NEED a facemask. That wearing a facemask is just further progression into ‘sissifying’ our kids. That wearing a facemask is unnecessary as long as a girl is coached properly. (Tell that to the little rock in the infield that makes the ball take a wicked hop right into your daughters beautiful teeth). And the worst of all, is that ‘if baseball players don’t wear facemasks then why should softball players?” (Maybe because girls are MUCH closer to the batter, play with a bigger and harder ball)

Softball is a FAST game. Girls today are hitting with $300 weapons of bats that are solely manufactured to create POP! Pitchers are getting better than ever. Faster pitching makes the ball come off the bat even harder. Hitters are better than ever. Home runs are becoming the norm when just years ago they were not so common. As we progress in this sport, everything is getting faster and harder and better. We don’t care how awesome of a third baseman your daughter is, if she crashes to field a bunt and the girls swings away – one little ray of sunshine could cloud her vision just enough that she could take a ball right to the face. And that ball could kill her.

These pictures below were sent into us from a father, who coached, and didn’t think his daughter needed a mask. His mind was changed.


Here is another picture of a pitcher hit by a pitch.


Here is a video of Dallas Charge Pitcher Jolene Henderson taking a ball to the face. (And please don’t say this girl doesn’t know how to play ball or doesn’t have quick hands) 

Here are some statistics….

Every year, more than two million girls between the ages of 12 and 18 play fast pitch softball. Like any sport, there are your standard injuries, pulled muscles, ankle sprains, but there’s also what happens when a ball going fifty miles an hour makes contact with a nose or an ear or an eye. Of all softball injuries last school year, 17.2% were head and face injuries.

Of the injuries sustained in softball, this is the breakdown.



Pitchers and third baseman do sustain most of the injuries such as concussions, broken noses, knocked out teeth.” “A helmet with a full face shield would prevent the vast majority of those injuries. Now, do they sustain them at high enough rate to justify making that a mandated piece of protection equipment? That’s not for us to decide. We can just present the information. 

Our entire platform here is not to argue whether or not your daughter should or should not wear a facemask. We are FOR the safety and wellbeing of every child playing this sport. But ulitmately, it is up to YOU and YOUR daughter to decide.

But what we are sick and tired of hearing is that somehow wearing a facemasks, or the girls that do, or choosing to wear a facemask ont he softball field is somehow a sign of weakness, or an indication that a girl cannot play the game. That’s just crap, and it is exactly that kind of judgment and rhetoric that we have to stop. 


For Parents & Players, We bring BACK our SUPER HEROES wear MASKS SHIRT





  1. Susan Williamson on February 1, 2016 at 11:42 am

    Great article! My daughter is a high school varsity pitcher and has worn a face mask since starting to pitch at the age of 8. She has asked a few times since starting high school to stop wearing it due to ridicule. I refuse. Here’s my thing….the catcher wears a helmet….the batter wears a helmet….WHY would the person standing closest to a batted ball at possibly 100mph not wear one?!?

  2. Mary Ortegon on February 1, 2016 at 12:13 pm

    My daughter had a lot of teeth work done at the age of 8 so have never played softball without a face mask. we wear it at practice, ant time we step on the field. I highly reccommend it .

  3. Kent Reed - FastpitchPros on February 1, 2016 at 12:25 pm

    Excellent article on facemask SIFG – You sound like a very responsible parent(s).

    One of the main reasons they have been unable to pass regulations is that governing bodies (USSSA, ASA, etc.) must all agree and create the same policies (i.e. this is very difficult to make sweeping regulation changes).

    However, #fastpitch #softball facemask should be mandatory for all pitchers and infielders. – at least for age levels through high school ( U8 – 16U). This would cover 99.7% of the players.

    OK… Next time you run into one of these anti-facemask coaches… Try using my method to WIN every discussion about facemasks… You say: “Why is a batter required to wear a helmet”? Then you wait for them to answer (if they hesitate – repeat the question and they will eventually answer by saying something about for the batter’s protection). Then you ask “What is the difference between a helmet and a facemask?”

    Conclusion – Arguing against mandatory facemasks is like saying “wearing helmets is a sign of weakness.

    Keep up the great blog and shirts – Softball is for GIRLS – YOU ROCK !

    Kent Reed – Founder of FastpitchPros

  4. Ellen on February 1, 2016 at 1:03 pm

    My daughter is a high school pitcher/infielder, and has always worn a mask. Believe me, it has not been an issue with college coaches, she signed her letter of intent last fall. The mask has protected her many times and she has great fielding skills. She took a line shot to the knee while pitching one time, it dropped her like a rock. I shudder to think what might have happened if that had hit her face with no mask. Hard line drives are just too fast to react to that close.

  5. Johnny powell on February 1, 2016 at 1:48 pm

    Saw a girl last year take a hit with a mask on and still crushed mask an broke her nose!! Just think if she wasn’t wearing a mask she probably wouldn’t be here right now. Why take a chance

  6. greg aston on February 1, 2016 at 1:49 pm

    First off ,we were at the game where the npf pitcher got cranked ,very scary moment. I am a long time coach more than 30years ,I’ve watched first hand how bat technology has changed the game ,how training has improved hitting .with exit speeds of 60+mph at the close distances most infielders play the risk of injury has jumped more than tenfold. My daughter is a pitcher,. infielder and wears glasses just turned 12and i put her in a faceplate at 5 yo. She has taken two bad hop shots at third off of her ripit mask and no harm and is fearless. I first saw the emergence of faceplates in2006-2007 primarily in travelball and it wasn’t rocket science to see their value ive had quite a few girls get cranked at 8u thru14u its the inherent nature of the sport i have required faceplates since 2007 and i have no regrets over that decision ,i want my gals to still be beautiful and healthy when they move on to life after softball and yes i have had parents complain up to and until they see someone get hit and are unharmed because of the faceplate. The bat tech and training is only going to get faster speeds generated i feel faceplates should be mandatory until the age 18when the girl is an adult able to make her own choices,as we all do concerning our own welfare. Thanks for listening

  7. Jennifer Day on February 1, 2016 at 2:24 pm

    The best way I have found to sum this up: We wear seat belts in cars and helmets for motorcycles. We do this not because we plan on being hurt or in an accident. The same is true of facemasks. Girls in certain positions or all girls should wear facemasks not because of weakness but instead of what could happen. Just like seat belts in cars, we do not wear them cause we expect to be in accident but in case we are in an accident. If you never have the accident then there was never any harm but if accident does happen it could save a life or prevent extensive injuries.

  8. Coach YoYo on February 1, 2016 at 2:28 pm

    Do you think it is possible that you will ever make this statement: “Boy, I really wish my DD was wearing a mask on that play!”

    Do you think it is possible that you will ever make this statement: “Boy, I really wish my DD wasn’t wearing a mask on that play!”

    Debate done!

  9. Pat Blum Head Coach NY Rockers on February 1, 2016 at 2:33 pm

    The fact that the governing bodies have not mandated infielder masks shows that they have not caught up to the times of protecting athletes. The advanment of mask development has come a long way. They are lighter, more form fitting and and easier to see thru than ever before. The only thing left to turn the corner is to make designer styles in color for visual. If we can get any of the Pro players to wear them the rest will follow. It’s time to step up and protect this generation of softball player. It’s time for the ASA, USSSA, NSA, NCAA, etc. to step up or step aside.

  10. Colleen on February 1, 2016 at 2:57 pm

    A facemask saved my daughter’s life last year. Period. She never sees the field without it. Oh, and she has a D1 scholarship, so the argument regarding less recruiting is irrelevant. Keep up the good work, Great article!

  11. Deanna Alvarran on February 1, 2016 at 3:52 pm

    My daughter used to wear a face mask when playing infield. For our own reasons and her comfort level. We’re all for the girls wearing them but you just put in perspective for me about how the catcher and batter wears one so why should other be “made fun of” if the other aren’t. Makes sense to me.

  12. Karrie on February 1, 2016 at 9:00 pm

    My 11 year old son plays travel baseball and we, all the parents and coaches, have started making our boys wear face masks when pitching. Best decision ever!!

  13. Jill Svenson on February 1, 2016 at 11:14 pm

    THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU for publishing this article! And I will add that those that “promote the sissy stigma” including respected college coaches and college and professional players (Jenny Finch in particular)you are so very wrong. Shall we tell football and hockey players you are sissys if you wear helmets, baseball pitchers, you are sissys if you wear a newly designed hat to protect your head, umpires, take off your shinguards and your masks you sissys! Are you all afraid of impact? Are you all afraid of the ball? For the love of god people, base coaches are required to wear helmets…guess why??…BECAUSE A MLB BASE COACH DIED FROM A FOUL BALL!!! HELLO??? Of all the insane CRAP I see about face masks for softball, the ignoramous sissy argument is the most insane…technology has been provided to keep your daughters face, teeth, jaw, eardrum, eye sockets/sight, and BRAIN SAFE, or at least considerably safer! But no, feel free to tell your daughter your ego and pride is much more important than her safety. It’s SOOOO much better if “she looks tough”.

  14. Mackenzie Stewart on February 1, 2016 at 11:37 pm

    I play softball in college. I am a pitcher and first baseman. I wear a face mask anytime I’m on the dirt. Three of my other teammates do the same thing and another wears one when she pitches. I don’t wear one because I’m “scared of the ball” or because my dad makes me (well not anymore). I ware one to protect my face. When my career is over, I want to see the best I can, not have countless reconstructive surgeries, and most importantly ALIVE! I’ve been ridiculed for it, but it doesn’t bother me. I like my face and teeth just the way they are.

  15. Elizabeth cantrell on February 2, 2016 at 3:58 am

    I love this article I too believed I didn’t need to wear a face mask until my second year of high school. I played short stop and bases were loaded so we were all pulled in. Well the line drive that was hit to me hit the gym at the last second and took a terrible hop. I remember waking up on the field with people standing all around me and not being able to see out of one eye. Just kept vomiting blood. I had to have facial reconstruction it crushed my eye socket. Although in had to have horrible surgery to have a plate put in above my eye and one below my eye I’m thankful because if it was half an inch over it would have killed me instantly. The doctor said there was nothing left of my eye socket that it was just pieces of bone floating around when he opened me up. I was very fortunate because I only had 30% chance of being able to see again. Needless to say never judge someone. I played for 12 years non stop every season for school and all but at a blink of an eye my life changed.

  16. Elizabeth cantrell on February 2, 2016 at 4:00 am


  17. Leslie Capps on February 2, 2016 at 7:30 am

    Thank God, my daughter was hit by a pitch in the face, partially reflected by glove, and shattered every bone on the right side of her face. Even cracked her skull above eye. Long recover for an accident that could have been prevented!

  18. Dale darkisian on February 4, 2016 at 7:24 am

    Unfortionatly I know first hand how important a softball mask is. I got struck with a line drive while pitching and had to endure 19 surgeries and the loss of my left eye. I see that they are required to wear mouth guards to protect there teeth but a tooth can be replaced, not an eye. Parents need to put pressure on these coaches that against these masks. If all parent did not allow their daughter to go out on that field without a mask , then the coaches will have no choice.

  19. Kevin mcgranahan on February 5, 2016 at 7:26 pm

    My daughter is a high school pitcher and has worn a facemask since taking the circle. She took a line drive off the bat to the mask and still sit her lip and was a bloody mess. Now stop to think what would have happened without the mask. I personally lived that scenario ad dont wish it on any parent or coach. There just isnt sufficient reaction time for them at that close proximity to the batter. My entire infield now has chosen to wear a mask and I personally know that they can all field the ball properlay and are not afraid.

  20. coach zamora on February 11, 2016 at 5:07 pm

    Face masks save teeth, tears, all players should wear…be safe all FAITH, FAMILY, FASTPITCH,..SGV KLUTCH…

  21. Dad on February 17, 2016 at 3:59 pm

    The real issue here is the fact that everyone wants to see homeruns so we allow these ridiculous $300-500 bats that drive a ball harder than ever. Even with a mask pitching and playing third base are very dangerous thanks to people who only care about run production instead of skill.

  22. Mark Haefeli on March 30, 2016 at 12:54 pm

    I have twin daughters who have played high school softball till 2011 and one played another four years in a major conference D1 college. Neither ever wore a face mask because they did not have such things when they were in high school. In college my daughter chose to not wear a helmet with a face mask. There are no rules mandating face masks on batting helmets in the NCAA. This does not mean I am for or against protective gear. However, I believe that the choice needs to be made by the player unless a parent insists. By the way, throughout four years of college, four years of high school and five years of middle school, I have never seen a player get hit in the face with a softball.
    My youngest is 12. She choices not to wear a mask and she pitches as well as plays I field. Maybe she’ll change her mind but maybe she won’t.

    In terms of making it mandatory, it will never happen unless buys are forced to wear face masks as well. I accordance with the ASA you can not discriminate.

  23. Katie Kearnes on July 8, 2016 at 1:41 pm

    Hi my name is Katie Kearnes and I am a 12u softball player I am a pitcher and a first baseman I wear a face mask just like all of the girls on my team and in the organization all of the girls on the other teams wear one too I think that it is very important that girls wear a face mask because it builds up confidence in girls and makes me think know that I am safe and won’t get hit by the ball and loose teeth please keep in mind that when people say that they really need to rethink their opinions. I will never go out on the field without a face mask. Last year in practice I did not have a face mask on and got hit in the head and got a minor concussion and could not go to school for two weeks. Now my mom won’t let me not wear a face mask. Thank you

  24. Marissa Geerdes on August 24, 2016 at 1:13 pm

    My daughter plays 10U (pitches) and recently had a line drive hit right back at her – skipped off the very top of the mask and then off the top of her head. She is a gritty player who always knocked down everything, but didn’t even have a chance on this one.

    We avoided any concussion or serious injury because of the mask! She said she’ll tell anyone that asks to wear one! A habit I wish all young players would get used to, because as they get older it would just be natural.

  25. Katie on February 2, 2017 at 5:04 pm

    I played slow and fast pitch my entire childhood through senior year in high school and always on the all teams. I was primarily a shortstop but also played second base, third, and sometimes outfield. My opinion is that never make something mandatory but only optional. Once it becomes mandatory, then boys need to have the same mandatory rule. I never would have worn one, never will I make my daughter if she chose to play. There will always be accidents and mishaps. I have been hit in the face numerous times with balls, bats, cleats, elbows, and more. It hurt, I bled, bruised, and screamed with many tears but never would I have worn the mask. By over protecting children they won’t learn to play the game correctly, use their body to shield, get the bum down, keep the eye on the ball. Don’t get me wrong, I never want to see a player damaged but mandatory rules such as these are not OK. Don’t even get me started on those stupid yellow balls…seriously.

  26. Brandyn Tinney on February 3, 2017 at 1:07 pm

    I have coached for the last 9 years from rec to travel to middle school. I have seen alot in the last decade. But last summer I attended several Ohio State softball games and 1 sticks out in particular. I was at the Ohio State vs Dayton game with my daughter, who was an 8th grader at the time. She plays mainly on their corners and prefers 1st base. Then it happened, Dayton took the field and the young lady playing 1st base put her facemask on. From that day on I have never had to ask my daughter to put it on. My daughter said “if a division 1 college player can wear it so can I”. I do not know that young lady’s name but I am forever grateful to her.

  27. Trysha on February 3, 2017 at 1:31 pm

    My exchange student tried out and first day got hit in the face. Results, broken glasses , 14 stitches in eyebrow and fractured eye socket. Yes I had to tell 2 agencies and the state department not to mention her parents from another country . I wish I new about face masks beforehand.

  28. Daniela S. on February 6, 2017 at 3:52 pm

    I coach a u13 Girls Team in Germany. I’d like to get the Girls to wear masks. Unfortunately they are hard to get here,that’s why I wanted to ask you if you have some laying around,you could send us? The girls would really appreciate that, especially because they have to play in the adult League this season.

  29. Amanda Webb on April 29, 2017 at 2:45 pm

    I played softball when I was younger and face masks were not a thing but I am SO thankful for the technology. However, my 12 year old daughter plays on a rec team that REQUIRES all infield softball players to wear a face mask but they don’t require the boys baseball teams of the exact same ages and skills. I’m tired of hearing it’s because girls stand closer when there has been actual physics showing that the momentum of the two balls are so similar and the baseball could do more damage because it’s smaller so the momentum isn’t spread out as much. While I want my daughter to wear the mask I’m so frustrated that they are mandating one gender and not the other. Thoughts?

  30. Layla on July 16, 2017 at 1:17 am

    Softball players are no more susceptible to a facial injury than baseball players. If anything baseball players have less of a reaction time now that pitches are coming in faster and batters are getting stronger. They also haven’t been required to even wear masks when batting. I think if girls are wearing masks, boys NEED them more. I’ve heard of more baseball facial injuries than softball and I’ve been playing softball for over 25 years and played for a division I softball team. I have also coached for almost a decade. I think all players should wear masks, not just girls. It annoys me to no end to hear you dismiss boys needing masks and pushing how girls need them.

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