“it’s rare for an adult athlete to have their heart stopped by an impact.
Commotio cordisis also rare in youth sports — but when it happens, the consequences are enormous. It’s associated with such high death rates that chest protection is now becoming the standard across a range of youth and young adult sports.
The National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment has approved chest protectors that are now mandated by the National Collegiate Athletic Association for lacrosse goalies and by the organization that governs US high school baseball for catchers. And while other sports or positions may not mandate this gear, players who are concerned can certainly use it.
It’s unlikely these items will become mandated for professional athletes because the risk of the event is so much lower than it is among youth, said Link. “Mandating chest protection for them doesn’t make as much sense because they’re just so much less susceptible,” he said.
Although what happened to Hamlin was shocking, Link said it’s important to view the event in context. Athletes are more likely to die of a motor vehicle accident on their way to the field than they are of being struck in the chest during a game.
“Sports are great for kids and they should continue to play them — and wear their seat belts on their way to practice,” he said.”