Over the past few MLB baseball seasons, there have been a number of publicized incidents of pitchers getting hit in the head with fast, come-back line drives. It's a scary and dangerous side effect of the game. Last season, pitchers like Texas Ranger Dustin Nippert and Cleveland Indian David Huff were among the pitchers that took hard hits to the head.
Attempting to address this problem, Easton-Bell designed a prototype pitching helmet. Unlike helmets worn by batters, this prototype isn't a full-head helmet, but instead protects only the most vulnerable spots on the head.
Easton-Bell analyzed footage of 5,000 pitchers to determine the most important parts to protect. They presented the helmet last month at their northern California R&D facility alongside Gunnar Sandberg, a 17-year-old Marin Catholic High School pitcher who was struck in the head last year and had to be put into a medically-induced coma to reduce brain swelling.
Since delivering a punishing combination of speed and accuracy requires as little distraction and as much comfort as possible, Easton-Bell designed the helmet to be as unobtrusive as it could. The helmet, which protects the front and sides of the head, is made from lightweight expanded polystryene.
Easton hopes to transform the pitcher's helmet from prototype to production model and get it to market by the end of fall--just in time for the tail end of the baseball season! (?)