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Experts from Rawlings Sporting Goods – a PORON® Cushioning Partner – Give Us an Inside Look at the Latest Baseball Gear.

Posted by Nicole Perry on Monday, May 2nd, 2011 | 5 Comments »

As baseball season heads into full swing, we thought you’d like to know what goes into some of the gear that helps players stay in the game such as the Rawlings S100P Batting Helmet, the official helmet of Minor League Baseball that offers protection of baseball speeds up to 100 miles per hour!

Travis Gessley, Rawlings Sporting Goods Product Director gives us a closer look.

Q: When did you introduce the Rawlings S100P Batting Helmet?

Travis: We launched the S100P in the spring of 2009.  It made its debut in the Arizona Fall League before becoming mandatory in 2010 for all 185 teams throughout the 16 leagues in Minor League Baseball.

Q: What makes the helmet unique?

Travis: Well first, it’s the only helmet on the market that can withstand a pitch of up to 100 miles per hour!  That’s pretty important as players are 40 percent more likely to be hit by pitch today than they were 50 years ago.

Q: Can you tell us about the design and some of the materials that go into the helmet?

Travis: Protection, fit, comfort and style are the building blocks of every Rawlings product we make.

The S100P Batting helmet is made with four independent layers of protection that makes up our Advanced Impact Management System, AMIS.  This system helps dissipate the energy of impact from a major impact.  The first layer of the helmet is the shell that meets the  ball on contact.  The second is a composite insert , which is built into zones of the helmet where the most protection is needed.  Third is the expanded polypropylene (EPP) foam liner with PORON® XRD™ Extreme Impact Technology for added protection.   Upon impact, the PORON® XRD™ molecules instantly form a protective shell and provide long-lasting and reliable protection.   Lastly, the helmet is lined with a combination of Outlast® and Pro-Dri® materials for superior comfort.  Outlast Thermocules™ continually absorb, store and release excess body heat to balance temperature and humidity buildup.  Pro-Dri® is a moisture-management wicking material that also fights bacteria.

Q: Are there specific testing methods that Rawlings uses insure proper protection?

Travis: We have our own internal testing lab.  We test the S100P Batting Helmet by placing it on a head form where by we shoot baseballs at the helmet from an air cannon at speeds of 100 miles per hour.  Special sensors measure the accurate speed and impact.

Q: How long does a typical batting helmet last?  If the S100P gets hit by a fast ball, does it need to be replaced?

Travis: We recommend getting a new helmet every year unless the helmet has been damaged or directly impacted by a baseball or softball at a moderate speed or faster.  If that is the case, then we recommend replacing the helmet right away.

Q: We understand that the S100P Batting Helmet is required to be worn by all players in the Minor Leagues, however there has been some controversy as to Major Leagues players being required to wear the helmet.  Can you comment on this?

Travis: Well, many of the players in the Major Leagues have their traditions and are a bit reluctant to change when it comes to their equipment.  We hope that when players from the Minor Leagues move up to the Majors, they will realize the benefit of wearing the S100P and want to bring it with them.

On a side note, Rawlings has sent 30 teams in Major League Baseball six S100P Batting Helmets for players to use.

Q:   Any additional trends you foresee in baseball helmet design?

Travis: Rawlings is always looking for the most protective, lightweight materials so we can make our helmets and other products as compact and comfortable as possible.  And we’re always conducting the “mirror test”.  Our products need to look good too!

The Rawlings S100P can be found in sporting goods stores nation wide or at www.rawlingsgear.com.

Stay tuned as share some tips from the Rawlings Team on how to gear up for baseball!

Nicole Perry

Nicole Perry

Global Market Segment Manager for PORON Comfort materials. Nicole has been involved in the Footwear industry for over 15 years. She also has over 25 years working with high performance materials including custom injection molded and cast polymers for automotive, apparel, electronics, equipment and medical markets. Nicole is passionate about bringing great technologies to market and working with companies that share the goal of helping people enjoy life no matter what they are doing. She holds an MBA from Nichols College.

5 Comments

  • wow! this will really help the players stay in the game well protected.

  • Ivan Gutierrez says:

    I’m an athletic trainer for a independant professional baseball team and I’m trying to force the entire league to go to the S100P but this year a player wearing a S100P got hit in the head and had severe concussion (the radar gun read 91mph). My question is are this helmets made just to prevent severe injury but not concussions?

    • Dave Sherman says:

      Ivan-

      Great question. The answer is a little complicated, but I hope I can clear it up a little. Rules for impact protection for many athletic helmets are set by the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE.) The current NOCSAE standard for baseball calls for a maximum Head Injury Criteria (HIC), number when hit by a baseball at 65 miles per hour. The HIC number measures the “jostle” imparted to the head by measuring the acceleration given to it, and the amount of time over which that acceleration takes place. The S100 helmet is designed to meet that same spec at 100 miles per hour, and there is no doubt it provides much better concussion protection than a standard helmet.

      The problem is that concussions are not always as straight forward as a big impact. They can be built up from lots of little impacts, such as when a football lineman hits the ground. Or they can be affected by having more than one direction to the motion of the head. Perhaps the batter in your league was ducking out of the way of the pitch and the impact forced more of a twisting acceleration which has been linked to concussions. In football for instance, the Riddell Revolution helmet was innovative in protecting against concussions by extending the ear piece to the chin in order to reduce twisting motions.

      It’s hard for me to imagine a helmet that could guarantee complete protection from concussions for players, but helmets are certainly improving. Our knowledge about what causes concussions is growing, and NOCSAE and other governing bodies are looking at improving testing and regulations. I applaud your efforts to keep the players in your league safe and performing at high levels, and I think using the best helmet available is a great start.

  • Kapadia says:

    HI Angela,

    Is there a PDF copy of the above interview with Rawlings available that I can share with my customer Sportsline who is considering XRD for Cricket Helmets ? If so, please email it to me.
    thank you
    Kapadia ( krishnaraj.kapadia@rogerscorporation.com)

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