Earlier this week, the parents of a 14-year old New Jersey boy filed a lawsuit against Hillerich & Bardsby (manufacturer of Louisville Slugger metal and wood bats), the Sports Authority retail chain, and the New Jersey State Little League, to recover damages for the brain injury suffered by their son after he was struck in the chest by a line drive hit by a metal bat in a Little League game and went into cardiac arrest (causing him to stop breathing and suffer oxygen loss).
The suit alleges that all three defendants were aware of the dangers posed by metal bats, which experts agree propel balls significantly faster and farther than wood bats. As a result, critics say, younger players are not left with enough time to react to balls hit at them by metal bats.
Little Leagues generally prefer metal bats because they tend to last longer. As a result, the debate has essentially become one of safety versus cost.
So far only New York City and North Dakota have banned metal bats from youth and school sports, and states such as Massachusetts and Pennsylvania voted against the ban. New Jersey is researching a possible ban, according to The Associated Press.
News of the lawsuit was also picked up by the Torts Prof Blog.