softballers face a fielder\'s choice: when to wear a face mask?
While softball is one of the safest high school sports in the state, concussion remains a real risk for athletes --
Especially those who often drive live lines from batsmen.
That\'s why fans and spectators can expect to see more girls wearing masks this year than in the past.
Didi Duran knew what it was like to play softball on his forehead.
In a game in last Decemberyear-
The veteran of Ferris High School climbed in from her position on third base to prepare a short shot, when the batter hit a straight line directly.
\"I don\'t think she\'s going to work as hard as she is,\" Duran said . \".
\"I think I\'m too close and it fell off the bat and hit me in the head.
An ambulance took Duran to the hospital.
She doesn\'t remember much, but a raised picture on her forehead shows the red mark left by the seam that hit her ball.
Her mother, Lisa, said Duran had trouble going downstairs for months.
\"She fell several times because she was dizzy,\" her mother said . \".
\"The school had to look at her and we looked at her as well, but she was not feeling well for three consecutive months with a concussion.
\"Duran is back on the court now, playing guerrilla.
In a recent match, two of her teammates wore masks that looked like a simplified catcher mask.
Leah Abbott, a junior at Ferris High School, explains why she wears a mask while playing: \"You never know what\'s going to happen.
The mask is not that bad either.
People say it will distract you and will only hinder your eyesight, but all I have is a bar on your cheekbones --
It won\'t distract you.
\"More than 2 million girls between the ages of 12 and 18 play softball every year.
In all softball games in 2013, the percentage of head or face injuries was close to 20%.
As a result, Felix high school coach joke Yusai encouraged all his infield players to wear masks.
\"When you play as we prepared, the shots are very hard and they get hit by the reel and their reaction time is not a must.
This can be dangerous.
\"Starting at 2006, the softball batsman was asked to wear a helmet with a mask.
But there are no rules for backcourt players.
Not in the work.
This means that players like Didi Duran don\'t need to wear masks.
Although she had an earlier head injury, she was still not injured.
\"I just don\'t like it.
It\'s blocking my way.
Looks stupid if you ask me.
\"Also, Duran said,\" the way I play is that I either work hard or go home.
If I get hit in the face then I\'m destined to get hit in the face.
\"Nevertheless, if she goes to Richardson Independent School District, which is only 30 miles from Ferris, there is no choice to make a decision from the player\'s HandsDuran.
Richardson\'s sports director, Bob Dube, has forced third baseman like Duran to wear a mask.
He said, \"We take this decision out of their hands and put it where they look stupid or not tough.
We solved the problem so the girl didn\'t have to make a decision.
It was for her.
Dube said that before the start of the game, his player\'s nose was broken and a girl\'s ear was torn off.
There has been no serious head injury in his area since the mask rules.
Dawn Comstock at the University of Colorado at Denver has been working on high school sports injuries.
If you want to know how many girls got a concussion while playing softball last year, she can tell you: Close to 8,000.
She said, \"pitchers and third basers, especially head injuries, including concussion, but there are also others --
Broken nose, hit
Wearing a helmet with a full-face shield can prevent most people from being injured.
Now, are they taking these injuries at a high enough speed to justify using them as an authorized protective device?
That\'s not what I decided.
\"At present, wearing a mask in the inner field is a personal decision for team players participating in the Texas Softball Championship.
Unfortunately, this is not Ferris and Richardson;
Neither team has entered the playoffs this year.