Commotio cordis is a sudden and tragic condition most frequently seen in youth baseball. It’s a sudden disruption of heart rhythm caused by a powerful blow to the chest.

There are an estimated 10-20 reported commotio cordis incidents per year. While the condition is very rare (the impact has to occur at a specific time in the heart’s rhythm and in a very specific location), it is extremely dangerous for young players.

Young athletes are less developed than adults, and so are at a higher risk of commotio cordis in general. Youth baseball players are even more at risk due to the speed and impact of the ball.

To reduce the risk for young athletes, companies like Unequal are developing equipment that protects against chest impacts.

Reducing the Risk of Commotio Cordis in Youth Baseball Players

study published in the Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine in 2016 found that ONLY those baseball chest protectors that used combinations of three specific materials were effective in reducing the risk of commotio cordis:

  1. Airilon - closed cell low density soft foam
  2. Accelleron - closed cell high density foam
  3. TriDur - coated fiber material bonded to a soft but durable plastic

Of 12 chest protectors assessed, only 3 significantly lowered the risk of VF compared with impacts without chest protectors. These 3 chest protectors were combinations of Accelleron, Airilon, TriDur, and ImpacShield of different thicknesses. Protection increased linearly with the thicker combinations...

The study concluded that use of these baseball chest protectors would likely be effective in helping to prevent commotio cordis on the field.

Additionally, youth athletes can further protect themselves by practicing proper ball avoidance techniques, and protecting their chests from impact as much as possible.

Can you completely prevent commotio cordis?

An effective chest guard can reduce the risk of commotio cordis in youth baseball players, but it can’t protect young athletes completely. However, the condition is incredibly rare, and following proper safety techniques and equipment usage can reduce the risk even further.

If you’re interested in youth baseball chest protectors, start with Unequal’s HART catcher chest protector. It’s been proven to reduce the risk of commotio cordis in the above mentioned study by Tufts Medical Center.

This particular chest guard is lightweight, comfortable, and protected by a patented military-grade 4-layer composite. Check out the video below for more information:


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