Safety changes made to batting practice after Newsome's death - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

Safety changes made to batting practice following middle schooler's death

"I think it made us and the surrounding schools take a step back, and revaluate what we are doing at practices," Livengood said. "I think it made us and the surrounding schools take a step back, and revaluate what we are doing at practices," Livengood said.
"My advice to them is to just give it a shot because it could be the difference in your life," Gabby Supack. "My advice to them is to just give it a shot because it could be the difference in your life," Gabby Supack.
Laney's varsity head coach, Aaron Livengood, said Alex's incident has made all coaches stop and think about safety. Laney's varsity head coach, Aaron Livengood, said Alex's incident has made all coaches stop and think about safety.
WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) -

It was just two weeks ago that Alex Newsome died after being hit in the head by a line drive at Roland-Grise Middle School, but the shock of his death is still unsettling to many players.

"When I heard he passed away I was on the bus ride home, and it hit me pretty hard" said Laney High School's second basemen, Richard Sander. "I didn't know what to think." 

Laney's varsity head coach, Aaron Livengood, said Alex's incident has made all coaches stop and think about safety.

"I think it made us and the surrounding schools take a step back, and revaluate what we are doing at practices," Livengood said.

Coach Jeep St. Ledger, the head baseball coach at Hoggard High School, was another coach who was quick to implement safety changes.

"From now on any player who is throwing behind the 'L Screen' will have a helmet on," St. Ledger expressed.

Laney's baseball coaches took their safety rules one step further, and have a new set of rules their players and coaches must follow:

  1. All coaches are required to wear helmets when coaching bases during a game. 
  2. All players will wear helmets when taking batting practice outside on the field or inside their hitting facility. 
  3. All players will wear helmets when throwing batting practice. 
  4. All catchers are required to wear full gear when warming up a pitcher in the bullpen.

Not just baseball

Softball players at Hoggard are taking their safety just as seriously, by wearing facemasks not only at bat, but also in the field. Gabby Supack, a varsity softball player, said she feels more confident playing infield with her facemask, and thinks others should consider it.

"My advice to them is to just give it a shot because it could be the difference in your life," Supack petitioned.

Livengood said if there was one thing positive to take from Alex's situation, it would be awareness. He said it's been inspiring to see how county rivals have put there difference aside and come together as one.

Copyright 2014 WECT. All rights reserved.

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