Rep. Eileen S. Naughton (D-Dist 21, Warwick) has introduced legislation that would mandate protective headgear for certain positions on girls softball teams.
The bill (2016-H 7756) would require that Interscholastic League athletes and youth sports athletes who are female and 19 years of age or younger and who play certain softball positions wear protective face masks during practice and at games.
“We’re learning more and more all the time about the seriousness of concussive brain injuries,” Naughton said in a release. “We’ve passed laws mandating that coaches and other youth officials be trained in recognizing the symptoms of a concussion, now it’s time to ensure that these girls are protected while on the playing field.”
The positions that would require the facemask include the pitcher, first baseman and third baseman. The facemask would have to meet National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment or ASTM test standards at the time of manufacture. The Rhode Island Interscholastic League would be required to adopt rules to see the law is carried out.
Traumatic brain injury among youth athletes is a serious public health concern in the United States. In 2011, more than 55,000 high school football players and 29,000 young soccer players sustained concussions during practice or competition, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.