Is This the Future of Baseball Helmets? | STACK

Become a Better Athlete. Sign Up for our FREE Newsletter.

Is This the Future of Baseball Helmets?

May 7, 2014 | Featured in the Spring 2014 Issue

Must See Baseball Videos

Boston fans may notice that Red Sox catcher David Ross is kicking it “old school” this year.

After wearing a hockey-style goalie helmet behind the plate last season, Ross switched to the traditional plastic-helmet-and-mask in 2014. But the old school look conceals cutting-edge technology. Inside, layers of protective padding—including material used in protective vests worn by law enforcement agencies—form a liner that shields his head from impact.

A company called Unequal makes the padding, a military-grade composite of rubber, plastic and a fiber that, when woven together, is five times stronger than steel. The protective padding works to disperse impact forces (from, say, a Jon Lester wild pitch) away from the brain.

So far this season, Ross has taken two pitches to the mask, and he has noticed the difference the Unequal product makes. “The blows weren’t as jarring as they were before,” he says. “I can’t say exactly why, but in each case, it was kind of a dull hit rather than a full-on blow. And I’ve had no problems or injuries.”

Ross began using Unequal padding last season after suffering a concussion in early May. He first wore a padded beanie underneath his hockey helmet, but he didn’t like the look of it. (“The guys said I looked like a Hibachi chef,” Ross jokes.) So Unequal developed a liner specifically for his helmet. Today, Unequal’s protective padding is built into Ross’s helmet and mask.

Ross plans to change his headgear again. He and Unequal are waiting for the MLB to approve the UNCAP, a hard-shell skullcap that will fit inside the traditional New Era baseball cap worn by other defensive players. Ross says the lighter cloth cap will provide several benefits.

“The one problem with the plastic hat is that when I sweat, it pours down my face,” Ross says. “With a cloth baseball cap, the sweat won’t pour down. Plus, cloth holds the mask in place better than plastic does.”

The MLB has offered no timeline about when the UNCAP might gain approval, though both Ross and Unequal hope it will happen soon. For more information about Unequal’s products, visit

Must See
Colin Kaepernick Explains His Ridiculous Socks
Views: 21,992,678
Peyton Manning Dumbbell Bench With 80+ Pounds
Views: 32,348,291
Jadeveon Clowney on Making Big Hits
Views: 3,169,131

Featured Videos

Quest for the Ring: Duke University Views: 248,609
Eastbay: It Begins Now Views: 70,986
Path to the Pros 2015: Training Days Views: 119,948
Load More


STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be fitter than ever

STACK Conditioning

Sport-specific conditioning programs

Coaches and Trainers

Tips and advice for coaches and trainers


Latest issues of STACK Magazine


Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice


Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes


Find the latest news relevant to athletes

More Cool Stuff You'll Like

TaylorMade & adidas to Launch New Golf Gear This Year

A Purchase All Baseball Players Need to Make

Go Harder With MIPS Helmet Technology

The Bat of Your Dreams: Inside Demarini's New Custom Bat Line

Louisville Slugger Debuts New Logo

New Glove From Nike Doesn't Need to be Broken In, Looks Awesome

Is This the Future of Baseball Helmets?

The 5 Most Painful Spots to Be Hit by a Pitch

Wilson's New "Spin" On Racquet Technology

How to Purchase and Maintain Your Hockey Goalie Skates

Babolat's Smart Tennis Racquet Set for 2013 Release

Training Equipment Every Baseball Athlete Needs

2 Game-Changing Protective Football Gear Products

Golf Training Equipment: Technology is Changing the Game

Putting Top Tennis Gear to the Test

Recover on the Go With Dr. Cool Sports Wrap

Heavy Hitters: The 2014 Baseball Gear Guide

Find Your New Football Gear With Eastbay Edge

How to Customize Your Goalie Equipment

How to Choose the Right Golf Club for Every Shot

Gain a Competitive Edge With Women's Soccer Training Equipment

Find the Right Bat for You

Training Equipment Needed to Run an Efficient Soccer Practice

Review: The Fixcraft Bike Polo Mallet, Battle Tested

Lengthen Your Drives With a Golf Launch Monitor

adidas to Launch In-Game MLS miCoach Technology

Robert Griffin III Wears EvoShield Protective Gear

BBCOR-Certified Bat Reviews

The Athlete's Guide to Choosing a Helmet

Improve Your Golf Game on the Range

How Your Underwear Can Save You From A Hockey Injury

Protect Yourself With Battle Sports Science Gear

Riddell Introduces the New SpeedFlex Helmet

The Technology That Gives Brad Marchand a Competitive Edge

How Joe Haden Is Gearing Up for Big Hits

Rawlings' NRG Quantum Plus Football Helmet Gets Five Stars

Consider Lighter Baseballs for Young Pitchers: A Study

The Most Protected Players in Major League Baseball

Basketball Equipment: SKLZ D-Man