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McDavid Introduces Protective Apparel That Can Save Lives On The Ball Field

Date: 4/22/09

WOODRIDGE, IL. (April 22, 2009) – Children across the country are picking up their bat, glove and ball this month and heading to the ball field for a rite of passage -the start of another little league season. 

What is not talked about, however, are the inherent dangers awaiting these young ballplayers when they get to the field.   Commotio Cordis is the sudden disturbance of heart rhythm which can result from a blunt, non penetrating, impact to the chest- often from a ball, bat, or other projectile. 

While injuries are common place in contact sports like football, hockey and lacrosse most parents send their child off to the ball field never considering that there could be danger awaiting their child - aside from occasional bumps and bruises caused by a stray pitch. 

From 1996 to 2007, however, there were 188 cases of Commotio Cordis recorded and nearly half of those cases occurred during organized sports.

Ninety-six percent of these victims were male and their average age was between 14 and 15 years old.  With such astounding numbers, McDavid Sports Medicine decided to take action.

With its HexPad® technology already changing the way athletes in many different sports wear protective gear, McDavid created a new piece of equipment designed specifically to lessen the number of cases of commotion cordis.

The new youth HexPad® sternum shirt is a compression shirt with HexPad® technology built into the sternum to protect the front and chest from impacts.  HexPad® provides a layer of lightweight protection built to help protect athletes who compete in sports with body to body contact and body to ground contact. The patented lightweight, breathable, athletic foam allows for continuous protection and unfettered mobility.  The compression fabric supports large muscle groups to avoid muscle pulls and fatigue.  The fabric also moves with an athlete’s body to help stop skin irritations, chaffing and abrasions.

The sternum protection shirt is available in long sleeve and sleeveless and is recommended as standard base layer equipment for all youth baseball, softball, lacrosse and soccer players.

According to a recent University of Maryland Sports Medicine study there are four factors that influence the chance of Commotio Cordis:

  • Impact directly over the cardiac silhouette (just left of the lower breastbone),
  • Impact involving a small part of the chest wall
  • Higher energy impacts
  • Impact occurring within a specific 10-30 millisecond portion of the cardiac cycle.

Due to the prevalence of commotio cordis among young athletes, there have been recent attempts to mandate sternum protection at the Little League level. 

According to Daniel Kirby, Director of Risk Management for Little League International, over 80 percent of local Little League programs have a formal safety program referred to as A Safety Awareness Program (ASAP).  Some of these local programs have established programs that include the use of sternum protection. Kirby said, however, because these are individual local leagues, the final decision is left up to each region.

McDavid™ is the leading manufacturer of sports medical products, protective equipment and protective apparel.  In 1969, Dr Robert F. McDavid™ designed and developed the first lateral protective knee brace in football, and from there, McDavid™ has fast become the leader in the sports medical industry developing innovative products that protect and prevent injuries for the professional, collegiate and active individual.  To learn more please visit www.mcdavidusa.com/


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