Carroll County elementary pupils will be required to wear safety helmets when using wood or metal bats in physical education activities, under guidelines adopted by county school officials.
The rules were recommended by an advisory committee that was formed after a 9-year-old pupil at Freedom Elementary School suffered a serious eye injury last spring when he was hit by a metal bat in gym class.
Bruce Cowan, Carroll's supervisor of physical education and athletics, said that, based on his research, Carroll is the only district in the state to require batting helmets for elementary pupils. State education officials could not be reached to confirm his statement.
"This takes safety to another level," Cowan said.
The rules take effect immediately.
Cowan estimated that each elementary school probably would need about 15 helmets in varying sizes to accommodate two simultaneous baseball or softball games. He said the price of batting helmets ranges from $9 to $16.
The advisory committee's recommendations state that:
The helmets must be used for batters and base runners when metal or wood bats are used in outdoor activities at elementary schools.
Minimum safety standards must be established for each physical education activity.
No metal or wood bats may be used indoors in Carroll County schools.
Only soft balls and soft bats may be used in grades one, two and three.
In staff and pupil softball games, helmets must be worn by batters and base runners, and minimum safety standards must be implemented.
Pub Date: 10/23/97