I was searching "face guards for little league" when I stumbled upon your forum, and wanted to just interject another perspective. My 10 yr old son is recovering from a blow out fracture to his orbital floor (lower eye socket) from a pitch to the face in a Little League AAA tournament game a week ago. I can't tell as much as my husband (and probably all of you) the difference between pitches, but I am told it was a screwball. It was like a heat-seeking missle, as my son backed away from it, it followed him. He has been taught to turn away on inside pitches and always has done that, but in his previous at bat in this game, he was called out on an inside pitch, one that had quite a bit of movement on it and ended up in the glove closer to the plate than he was expecting. I think he was trying to hang on to this pitch in his vision a bit longer to get a better look because of that, but in any case, he should have turned away sooner. The team we were playing had several more experienced travel players and our boys really hadn't seen pitches move quite that much before - but whatever the excuses...he was hit (along with about 4 other players on our team) and, like has been said in this thread - it's no one's fault.
The ER Dr. said he will need to wear a face guard to prevent re-injury. I wasn't sure he'd even want to play again, with or w/out the guard, but in any case, the guard is a requirement for him for the foreseeable future. He said he does want to continue playing, so I'm researching the different options avbl.
Our daughters played D1 college softball and ASA began requiring face guards in 2005. The ruling affected our younger daughter, who at first had some adjustments to make, but as time went on, it was a non-issue. And altho in college it was not required, the one who had played travelball with it did continue to wear it. During the college softball world series a couple wks ago, we noticed many, if not most, of the girls who came to the plate did so w/ face guards. Imho, it's just a no-brainer. I would have loved it if Little League had that requirement in place a week ago.
So, yes, it should be taught and re-taught at younger levels how to turn from inside pitches. Yes, being hit is part of the game. BUT, as the "game" continues to evolve to faster pitching at younger ages (w/ kids in lessons from age 5), and bats continue to improve in composition for more pop, injuries will happen no matter how much preventative training.
I didn't know Little League was considering a face guard requirement, but if they are, I am happy to hear it. Regardless (no pun :), our son will be wearing one. He was very lucky his eye muscle was not entrapped, so no surgery was needed, but he was in a lot of pain, seeing double and vomiting, w/ half of his face distorted for several days. He will miss the entire allstar season and no running for 4 wks, so it's definitely something I wouldn't wish on ANYONE.
With that said, his coach bought him something called a "C-Flap". It looks good, but I was wondering if there was anything out there more like the NOCSAE approved ASA guards, that reach across the helmet as opposed to a protuding flap. If anyone has an opinion on an effective face guard, I would appreciate any input.
Thanks for reading, even though I realize my opinion, as a parent, might be different from most of you (esp since this is a pitching forum), but thanks anyway. Whether or not there's a requirement won't affect us, as our son will wear one, but I do think mandating it would be more good than bad. Just like the seatbelt law, it would take time to adjust, but after that, I think it would be no big deal.