If Your Child Plays Baseball, This Shirt Could Save Them From Serious Injury

by Megan Zander
Originally Published: 

Dad shares how a heart guard shirt may have saved his son’s life

One dad’s post about his son’s recent baseball game is going viral, because a simple piece of sports equipment may have saved his life. In a Facebook post, John Curtin explains how his 11-year-old son Ryan was hurt during a recent baseball game, and how a special shirt may have prevented his injuries from being far worse.

Curtin’s son was pitching. The batter hit a hard line drive that struck Ryan directly in the chest. Luckily, Ryan was wearing a heart guard shirt — a special shirt designed to wear under a uniform with padding to protect the chest from a hard blow. Curtin tells Scary Mommy Ryan’s mother Maria purchased him the shirt a couple of years ago after reading a story on the internet about a baseball player who suffered an injury to the chest during a game. After reading that story they went to a sporting goods store to buy a heart guard shirt, and Ryan has worn it since. “Fortunately we hadn’t had to deal with this craziness before last Tuesday,” says Curtin. But when Ryan was hit last week, he was wearing the shirt, just in case.

Curtin believes the shirt protected his son’s life. “He was in a lot of pain but a lot better than the alternative,” he writes. “The other coach is an EMT and said if he didn’t have that on that he might have been giving my son CPR.” Curtin took his son to urgent care just to make sure he was okay. “We were leaving Wednesday morning for his fifth-grade camping trip,” he explains. The Curtins feared Ryan might have to miss his trip. While his chest was sore, the x-rays fortunately came back fine and he was able to join his class. Curtin shared the family’s close call with the world in hopes of preventing another child from getting seriously injured.

Commotio cordis is a condition that occurs when a person is hit in the chest with a blunt object, like a ball, with enough force to cause a disruption to the rhythm of their heart. Thankfully it’s not that common, with only 224 cases being reported in the U.S. since 1995. However, when it does happen, the fatality rate is about 65% in situations where there’s immediate CPR and/or a defibrillator present. Without such intervention, the fatality rate is over 80%. The condition most commonly happens during baseball games. Ryan’s heart guard shirt may have prevented the unthinkable from happening.

While you may not have heard of them, these padded shirts are available from most major athletic brands and retail for around $30-$60. They’re most popular for baseball, softball and lacrosse, sports where hard, direct hits to the chest with a ball are most likely to occur.

Image via Dick’s Sporting Goods

There are even removable heart guard pads that can be shared between multiple players, so that a single ball team can ensure whoever is pitching is always wearing a heart guard when on the mound.

Image via Unequal

It’s terrifying to think your child may ever get hurt while playing a sport that they love, and even scarier to imagine that the injury could be a serious one. Nothing is 100% safe, but for kids that play ball, a heart guard shirt might make a difference in an unthinkable situation. “For all you parents that have children that pitch, do me a favor and run out and buy a heart guard shirt,” Curtin pleads. “For your child.”

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