A new type of catcher’s mask makes hits to the faces of catchers less substantial. The force 3 Pro Defender is a new type of mask that has been in development for more than 5 years. Jason Klein, a former minor league umpire came up with the idea after being hit almost weekly. Klein says that the design for catcher’s equipment has remained largely unchanged for the past 100 years.
Pictures courtesy of The Library of congress and the Encyclopedia of Baseball Catchers Equipment
With the help of Klein’s father, who is an engineer, the two built a mask and is working with a company who is now distributing it.
The Main drive behind this new design is injury prevention. preventing concussions, and preventing other various types of pain that catchers and umpires alike experience when they get hit with a ball or bat. This new type of catchers mask enables on average a 50% reduction in forces that would normally be delivered to the face. Furthermore, in some cases compared to other masks in the market the reduction in force can be as much, Klein says, as an 88% reduction in forces.
Force 3 Pro has teamed up with some major league players and one of them, Tyler Flowers of the Atlanta Braves, says, “with all of the talk about traumatic brain injuries and concussions, this mask couldn’t have come at a better time. Finally, there is nothing to think about anymore when it comes to protecting my head.” Flowers also said, “I want kids to be able to catch again, and parents to not have to worry about any sort of head injuries and keep kids away from catching.” The overall attitude of the entire Force 3 Pro team echo’s that not only do they want to keep the player safe while they are playing the game but also to improve their quality of life after they are finished playing the game.
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