To Facemask or Not to Facemask?
It’s a popular debate. To facemask or NOT to facemask? And most folks feel strongly one way or the other.
Caitlyn Ford’s parents didn’t mind their daughter pitching without a face-mask. In fact, she had gone from wearing one to not wearing one, and as innings and games went by without incident, it is easy to begin to get comfortable with how things are. In fact, this article is being written because her mother would like to at least change the fate of one girl on the field, to not have to go through what happened to her daughter. Here is what she submitted on Facebook.
And we APPLAUD the fact, and are grateful that her mom chose to SHARE this story with us. So no bashing required!
At SIFG, we hear all the time things like, “My daughter has a quick glove,” “My daughter as been pitching for 6 years and hasn’t been hit,” “My daughter thinks a face-mask gets in the way,” “A face-mask is not necessary – baseball players don’t wear them.” Blah Blah Blah!
We hear tons of folks referencing collegiate players and acknowledging the fact that most of them don’t wear face-masks. We also hear from many folks who have been told that coaches won’t look at a girl who wears a face-mask.
If you have ever witnessed a pitcher or infielder (or outfielder for that matter) taking a line drive or ball to the face – you will definitely rethink your position that face-masks are not necessary.
It may be called softball, but the ball is anything but soft – and coming off a bat made with the specific technology to catapult it at amazingly fast speeds directly toward players who are only some 25-40 feet away from the batter of whom has likely been specifically trained to transfer all of her energy and power into hitting the ‘soft’ball – sort of means that the advantage goes to the batter. After all, they are the ones holding the bat.
If you haven’t been watching college softball this year, let us give you some insights. Things are changing. In a sport that used to be controlled by the speed and movement of an adept pitcher, more and more balls are being hit. A team doesn’t win because they have the best pitcher in the circle anymore. They win because they can HIT (and HIT HARD) and play defense. More home-runs have been hit in recent years than ever before in college softball. Less batters are striking out. Bats are getting better (you aren’t paying $300 for a bat for nothing) and batters are getting stronger, faster and better trained.
Now, Back to Caitlyn. This is Caitlyn. Isn’t she beautiful? This is her right before pitching her first varsity game as a junior…
And the following pictures are Caitlyn after that game was ended early for her.
Her mom said told SIFG yesterday,
“I can tell you that she did not have a concussion and only sprained her ankle and she ended up having to have 2 route canals and 2 crowns to her teeth, and a lot of stitches inside her mouth for her lip.Actually she has appointment Thursday this week to have her permanent crowns put on. She has temporaries right now on she was really upset when this happened because prom was 2 weeks away but her swelling went down on her face and lip and her black eye went away and her dentist did an awesome job and if you didn’t know what happened you’d never know that she took a line drive to her mouth!”
Caitlyn has a great glove. Caitlyn has always fielded her position perfectly. Caitlyn has never been hit square in the face and has always been able to get her hands on the ball. Caitlyn has pitched against composite bats and awesome batters numerous times.
Caitlyn also wears a seatbelt when she gets into the car. Not because her or her parents are horrible drivers, but because they are aware that the potential for danger is there. It’s not only law but common sense.
It’s definitely a personal choice, but as ADULTS, it is definitely our responsibility to keep our girls safe. At SIFG, we will recommend that all pitchers and infielders wear face-masks. And after seeing outfielders who have lost a ball in the sun get broken noses and broken teeth, it’s not such a bad idea for them either.
In this case, Caitlyn was pretty darn lucky to not have more serious damage than she did. We thank her parents for sharing, and send our prayers for a fast recovery (emotionally and physically) to Caitlyn!