Matthew Van Dusen recently reported out of Bergen County, New Jersey that township recreation officials have banned aluminum and non-wood baseball bats from the youth baseball league to protect players from high-speed line drives like the one that almost killed a Wayne boy last summer.
The recreation advisory board had discussed the move for a while but acted after a drive off an aluminum bat struck 12-year-old Steven Domalewski of Wayne in the chest in June and stopped his heart. "We thought there was a need [for us] to be pioneers in this area," said board president of the league, Rich Weiner.
This switch comes as the state Legislature mulls a ban on non-wood bats -- including aluminum, titanium and other alloys -- in most organized games involving children under 18.
Andy Wingfield, an assistant baseball coach at Ramapo High School in Franklin Lakes, said he has seen two young players hurt by line drives over the past five or six years. Also, a report from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission found that, between 1991 and 2001, eight players were struck and killed by drives from non-wood bats, two from wood bats and seven from bats whose composition was not known.
Several coaches and Little League officials told the legislative safety committee at a hearing in October that the ban is unnecessary since injuries are rare and children will leave the sport if they have to use wooden bats, which have smaller "sweet spots."
What do you think? Should aluminum bats be banned in youth baseball leagues?
(Photo provided by Getty Images, taken by Jim McIsaac)