It might be the scariest moment in sports: when a pitcher gets hit in the head with a line drive.
"There's no defense for that except having quick reflexes, and just hoping you can see the ball and making the play," says Post 30 baseball coach Bennie Waters.
At only 60 feet and six inches away from home plate, a line drive can get back to a pitcher in less than a second-
And when it does, it usually leaves disastrous results.
It's created a complicated issue within the industry of baseball: how do you protect pitchers without taking away from the game?
"Do you put a helmet on them? Because now that alters their mechanics. Do you put a screen up in front? Because now that alters the entire game," says Darton State head baseball coach Scot Hemmings. "Do you back the pitchers' mound up which gives the advantage to hitters now?"
One idea that has been raised is a form of protective cap that pitchers could wear, but critics say it would only protect portions of a pitchers head.
Many coaches, including Hemmings, say there just may not be an solution to a pitcher's greatest fear.
"I don't know if there is an answer, except that's part of the deal," Hemmings says.
But Hemmings agrees that doesn't mean coaches and all in the baseball industry shouldn't continue the discussion on how to make America's pastime safer
"One death, or one person put in a coma, or one person paralyzed is way too many," he says. "So, absolutely, the more that we can generate conversation and generate some investigative matters from this, then the better off we'll be."
Until then, pitchers and fans may just have to hold their breath and hope for the best.
Copyright 2013 WALB. All rights reserved.
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