Q: Our 10-year-old son refuses to wear a cup when he catches for his Little League team. How can we persuade him to use it?
A: In this case, experience will be a painful teacher. We hope your son can be encouraged by the facts.
He already knows that batters wear helmets to protect their heads. You should explain why a cup is important and that his testicles are just as sensitive to injury as his head is. It is worth pointing out that if he is hit there by a ball, he will likely think of nothing else for quite a few days!
You might add weight to your argument if you make sure he is aware that professional catchers use cups on a regular basis. The wisdom of the professional baseball player as role model is likely to carry the day.
Dr. Wilson is director of general pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins Children's Center; Dr. Joffe is director of adolescent medicine.