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Parents and coaches push for mandatory face mask regulations in softball

It’s a debate, gaining the attention of parents in Green Country. Should softball players be required to wear protective masks? (KTUL)

TULSA, Okla. (KTUL) – It’s a debate, gaining the attention of parents in Green Country. Should softball players be required to wear protective masks?

Right now Missouri and Kentucky are the only states to make it a rule.

Mike Angielski’s daughter plays softball on the USSSA Pride Softball team.

“She started playing softball when she was young and she wanted to go to a competitive team,” he said.

With each pitch, Angielski said he has one thing on his mind.

“Safety is very important because we don’t want anybody getting hurt,” he said. “Safety is the biggest issue in any sport, not just softball."

To his relief the team's coach, Chris Townsend, has one big rule.

“I make all my girls in the infield wear face masks,” he said.

He believes it makes the game safer for all of his players.

“The bats are getting harder, the compression of the balls are tighter and they come off the bat quicker,” he said. “Having the whole infield wear safety masks is just an extra layer of safety for all the girls.”

He wants other teams to follow suit and believes it should be a statewide rule.

“I hope Rip It and the state of Oklahoma bring it to light for everybody,” Townsend said. “I couldn’t see them get hit and live the next day to see that.”

“Nobody wants a face smashed,” said Angielski. “I mean if you have the masks it’s an extra layer of protection.”

Studies show more than 3.5 million youth athletes suffer from injuries every year and up to 40 percent are related to the face.

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