The City of New York is handing out free defibrillators but only one gender is getting them —boys.
A city law that was supposed to provide free defibrillators to youth baseball and softball teams has left out predominantly female leagues because there weren’t enough defibrillators to go around, which has led to outrage.
Mayor de Blasio signed the new law in May which would provide free automated external defibrillators to baseball leagues that play on city fields. The defibrillators send a shock to the system and restarts the heart if a child gets hit with a softball in the chest. They are common in sporting events to prevent commotio cordis, a life-threatening disruption of the heart if a child is hit by a softball.
Some coaches feel that predominantly female leagues aren’t considered as dangerous as boys leagues because a softball is used in the girls’ leagues.
“It’s only called softball,” said Peter DeMauro, currently coaching a girls’ softball team in Brooklyn.“It’s not a soft ball. It’s the same density as a regular baseball.”
The amount of children that die of commotio cordis isn’t a cause for concern but many of the deaths could have been prevented if a defibrillator was present at the scene.
Many people such as Peter McCarthy, president of the Dyker Heights Athletic Association, believe that baseball and softball are “equally dangerous.” McCarthy said a softball is harder than a baseball and is “basically a big 12-inch baseball.”
The new law, sponsored by City Councilman Steven Matteo, was initially supposed to include all youth sports but couldn’t because it was too expensive.
Studies show that young males have a higher risk of commotio cordis which was the a big reason why they provided boys youth teams with defibrillators first.
“These devices will save the lives of young athletes who face the highest risk of sudden cardiac arrest due to commotio cordis,” Matteo said.
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