(Received 26 April 1999; accepted 10 February 2000)
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The purpose of this paper is to investigate the increasing use of soft-core centered baseballs and the safety issues that have arisen in comparison to the design and manufacture of traditional hard-core baseballs. This purpose was not to decide whether either of the two types of baseballs was reasonably safe or unreasonably dangerous. Allegations have been made that the hardness of a baseball affects the type and magnitude of injury to a person. Experimental and analytical research has been done exploring that area to determine the validity of those allegations. This paper reviews the models and methodology presented in recent studies attempting to model the mechanism of injury and death related to baseball impacts to the human head and chest regions.
Information was obtained from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, which disseminates mandatory regulations for some consumer products, and the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment, which publishes voluntary industry standards for baseballs and baseball equipment. In addition, studies conducted by a number of organizations, including the Institute for Preventative Sport Medicine, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Wayne State University, as well as articles published by The New England Journal of Medicine, were included in the review.
Hazard, Keefe and Leane Engineering, Inc., Wheeling, IL
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