Easton-Bell Sports CEO Paul Harrington joined Little League International President Stephen Keener, California Interscholastic Federation Executive Director Marie Ishida and Marin County high school baseball player Gunnar Sandberg in Scotts Valley on Monday to unveil a new helmet prototype, designed to help protect pitchers on the mound. The event took place at Easton-Bell’s new Helmet Technology Center, internally called “The Dome.”
“We have long been a leader in football, hockey, cycling and snow head protection, and now we can lead the way in head protection for baseball, too,” said Easton-Bell Sports CEO Paul Harrington.
“With our pitching helmet prototype, we have redefined what is possible and launched a new era of protection for baseball pitchers.”
Easton-Bell Sports designed the new helmet prototype to protect pitchers like Gunnar Sandberg, the 17-year old Marin Catholic High School student who suffered life-threatening injuries last March when he was hit in the head by a batted-ball while pitching. Gunnar made a triumphant recovery and is back on the field, but he and his family are now working to improve safety for baseball players to help prevent other families from suffering similar tragedies.
“Although head injuries to pitchers and fielders are rare, when they happen they can be devastating and deadly,” said Bjorn Sandberg, father to Gunnar.
“The time is right to introduce headgear that is well designed, comfortable – and more than anything – protective for the pitchers and fielders. We are so thankful for the people who have taken on the challenge to help make baseball safer. We are on board to help minimize the risk.”
Sandberg will be testing the Easton baseball helmet prototype for comfort and performance. Little League Baseball is also supporting the development of new helmet technology, citing their proud tradition of leadership in youth sports safety.
“Innovations in the name of safety are central to Little League Baseball,” said Stephen Keener, president/CEO of Little League Baseball.
“Over several decades, Little League Baseball has actively participated in the creation of many cutting-edge safety products, from the modern batting helmet and catchers helmet to modern chest protectors. Now, Little League Baseball is pledging to help develop a new era of equipment designed to help protect youth pitchers on the mound.”
The Easton-Bell Sports pitching helmet prototype uses lightweight energy managing materials to provide protection to the most vulnerable areas of the head, without compromising comfort or performance. The helmet is made of expanded polystyrene polycarbonate, which is attached to a comfortable liner and elastic strap.
The result is a product that provides protection, comfort and performance.
The Easton Helmet Technology Center “The Dome,” formally opened in Scotts Valley, California in fall of 2010, inspiring a culture of innovation across Easton-Bell Sports products. “The Dome” is a 55-thousand square-foot facility centralizing helmet research and development for all Easton-Bell Sports brands, including Easton, Bell, Giro, Riddell and Blackburn brands. “Dome” designers develop products for eight different categories including football, cycling, snow, hockey, lacrosse and baseball/softball.
“The Dome is the heart of research, design and development for our helmets across sports,” said Harrington. “We have the most experienced and talented experts in helmet technology who work together across all of our brands to share best practices, challenge industry standards and ultimately develop products that improve the safety of sport.”