Kentucky Mandates Masks

July 21, 2017

Kentucky has introduced a new rule for the 2018 high school softball season that requires pitchers, first basemen, and third basemen to wear facial protection, becoming the first state to enact such a mandate. According to USA Today, the Kentucky High School Athletic Association recommended that the Middle School Advisory committee also implement a rule. The association had propsed the change take place nationwide, but the NFHS did not enact the rule.

Julian Tackett, commissioner of the KHSAA, released a statement expressing he was “disappointed” that the NFHS Rules Committee did not approve the proposal, but not surprised. He said that protecting softball players was of the utmost importance.

“I am thankful our Board decided to act now rather than wait until the issue reaches critical mass and other entities find themselves in the position of needing to be reactive rather than proactive in this area,” Tackett said. “Our experience the last few years has left us with multiple anecdotal and documented reports of incidents within our state that leave us no option but to leave our national rules making body behind in terms of waiting for change.”

Montana Fouts, chosen last year for the All-USA High School Softball First Team, said that while she always wears a face mask while pitching, she believes the choice should be up to individual players. According to Tristatehomepage.com, Evyn Hendrickson, a pitcher for Union County, argued in favor of face masks after an incident in April, when a ball hit her in the face and she was not wearing protective equipment.

“I believe I had a huge role in it,” Hendrickson said. “The fact that it happened brought a lot of light to the injury and that it is possible. It's just a lot safer, and I feel like the game's going to be a lot more enjoyable without having incidents like that happening, you know, every so often."

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