Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

March 28, 2006

Baseball is major cause of blindness

As a pediatric eye physician and surgeon, I have been distressed by the Maryland Senate's unwillingness to pass the bill that would protect children from blinding injuries playing baseball ("Youth baseball could get new look: masks, goggles," March 22).

The leading cause of monocular blindness in children ages 5 to 12 is baseball injuries.

Young pitchers can throw a ball up to 60 miles per hour.

The impact of a wild pitch to a child's fragile eye can result in permanent eye damage such as ruptured globes and retinal detachments. But the good news is that 90 percent of these injuries are entirely preventable with the use of face guards on batting helmets, softer-core baseballs and sports goggles for children who wear prescription glasses.

The Maryland Society for Sight, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Ophthalmology and the American Optometric Association have all given support to the Senate bill.

In the past, Maryland has taken the lead in protecting childhood injuries. We were the first state to require bike helmets for children 16 and younger, and as a result, many childhood head injuries and fatalities have been prevented.

In 2002, Baltimore became the first city in the United States to mandate eye protection in youth baseball.

Isn't it time to extend this same protection statewide?

Dr. Stuart R. Dankner

Baltimore

The writer is a pediatric ophthalmologist and member of the board of the Maryland Society for Sight.

Mandating goggles another foolish law

Maryland's Democratic legislators have gone beyond the pale in their quest for a "nanny state."

Some of them now want to require youth baseball and softball players to wear face masks and goggles while playing the great American sport ("Youth baseball could get new look: masks, goggles," March 22).

According to a supporter of this ridiculous legislation, Democratic state Sen. James Brochin, if a youth gets hit by a ball, and "it takes your eye out," the kid is out of luck.

Please. Didn't our mothers tell us not to run with sticks because we would "put someone's eye out"? Yet I know of no school-age friend who lost an eye from running with a stick.

But Maryland's Democrats are so eager to control every aspect of our lives that they are now using the old "put an eye out" ploy to enact more meaningless legislation.

My daughter plays softball in the Lutherville-Timonium league. Should we now require her and her teammates to wear football uniforms in case they get hit by a fly ball? How about steel-toed boots in case they slide into home plate?

We already use altered balls that are softer than regular balls. Should we require that baseball bats be coated in bubble wrap to reduce risk of injury? Where would it end?

Perhaps instead of new laws to save our kids from having an eye put out while playing baseball, we should push for legislation to protect us from Democratic legislators intent on enacting more silly laws.

Tony Ondrusek

Hunt Valley

Regents' misconduct sullies university

As a student at the University of Maryland, College Park, I can attest to the system's quality. What a shame that ethical lapses by the Board of Regents sully the name of a truly exceptional university system.

I would heartily approve of a move from a governor-appointed board to the nonpartisan nomination of regents ("Re-educating regents," editorial, March 23).

After all, as tuition spirals ever higher in the system, politics are the last thing that should concern the regents.

They should focus on the system's mission of providing an affordable, high-quality education to the state's residents.

Grant Hamming

College Park

The writer is a student at the University of Maryland, College Park.

Damage will swamp Cambridge's gains

A $25 million short-term gain for Cambridge will likely result in long-term damage to the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge and the Chesapeake Bay ("Senate votes down Blackwater bill," March 25).

Shame on Maryland's shortsighted state senators; this development is not a local issue.

Grenville B. Whitman

Rock Hall

Let consumers buy channels they want

I was surprised and a bit dismayed by Rep. Elijah E. Cummings' column regarding the Federal Communications Commission's effort to unbundle cable TV channels ("Don't unravel cable TV bundles," Opinion

Commentary, March 20).

I believe the FCC's reconsideration of "a la carte pricing" would be a positive change for cable customers.

In our Baltimore County home, we pay $56 per month for basic cable, which provides some 80 channels. But, really, are all those channels worth it?

For our family, the great majority of the available channels are of absolutely no interest.

We watch about five cable channels and the local broadcast stations, not 11 channels, as used in the studies cited by Mr. Cummings. And I don't doubt that many other subscribers have similar tastes in TV, and would rather pay only for what they watch, and not for what others watch.

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