Archive for March, 2010

When will the aluminum bat madness finally end?

Another tragic incident occurred in the San Francisco area about a week ago when a young HS pitcher was drilled in the head by a line drive off an opponent’s aluminum bat. The youngster suffered severe brain swelling, and was placed in a medically-controlled coma over a week ago. As of this posting, he was still in intensive care.

How many more of these cases do we have to deal with? Anybody who has ever spent any time around a baseball diamond will tell you that there’s a huge difference between a ball struck by an aluminum bat versus a ball off a wooden one. And yet, a number of major organizations, including Little League Baseball, claim that there’s no difference at all – that wood and aluminum are the same. What a disgrace.

Meanwhile, the lawsuits continue to pile up. The family of Brandon Patch, who died after being hit in the head by a line drive off a metal bat, won close to a million dollars when they took Louisville Slugger to court. Other legal cases from Oklahoma, New York State, and other places are beginning to crop up as well, with injured kids winning dollars from aluminum bat manufacturers.

As attorney Steve Kallas pointed out on my show, this situation is becoming analogous to the tobacco cases over the last two decades where cigarette companies denied that smoking was bad for one’s health, or that nicotine was addictive. We’re seeing the same kind of pattern with aluminum bats.

Parents and coaches – be forewarned. Baseball – -and softball — are better and safer games when played with wood bats.

Be wary of high-energy drinks!

Dr. Gary Wadler, who is perhaps the nation’s leading expert on performance enhancing substances when it comes to athletes, was my guest on Sunday, and we focused on the extremely high levels of caffeine which are contained in most of the highly-popular quick energy drinks these days.

A HS football player from Missouri came home from school a few weeks ago, and quaffed two 16-oz cans of something called NOS. The youngster, who was in perfect health, ended up in a coma for a few days, all because he ingested more than 500 mg of caffeine from those two NOS drinks.

Even worse, most sports parents think that when their kid drinks a can of Red Bull or NOS or other similar products that they’re giving themselves an edge over their competitors. The truth is – by ingesting such high levels of caffeine in a short period of time, they’re putting themselves at serious risk of seizures, strokes, and heart attacks.

Hard to believe but it’s true. Some coaches and school athletic directors now ban kids from drinking this stuff. Problem is, they’re available everywhere, kids think that it’s good for them, and there’s very little warning on the label about how potentially dangerous this can be.

Note to sports parents and coaches: a cup of coffee has about 100 mg of caffeine. A can of cola about 50 mg. A 16-oz serving of NOS has about 250 mg. Most medical experts say one should not consume more than 150 mg a day.

Do you really think you’re giving your kid an edge…or accidentally putting their health at risk?