MOUNT PROSPECT, ILLINOIS (April 2, 2019) - High school baseball players are permitted to use cheek or jaw protectors attached to batting helmets during the 2019 season, according to National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Baseball Rules Editor and National Interpreter Elliot Hopkins.
NFHS has taken the position that once a head baseball coach verifies his team is legally and properly equipped, and all other criteria to start a game have been met, then play will begin. NFHS is not taking the role of determining the legitimacy of a cheek or jaw protector that has been attached to a batting helmet.
NFHS Rule 1-5-1 states it is mandatory for batters, baserunners and on-deck batters, among other individuals, to wear a batting helmet that is non-mirror like and meets the NOCSAE performance standard. NFHS rules allow for a face mask/guard to be attached to the batting helmet in NFHS Rule 1-5-2. A cheek and jaw protector is not considered a face mask/guard and currently does not meet any performance standard. NOCSAE does not have a performance standard for cheek and jaw protectors.
If an umpire notices a cheek and jaw protector hanging off the batting helmet and swinging loosely, the umpire should enforce NFHS Rule 1-5-6 regarding defective equipment that would have to be removed from play.
AAU Baseball is also allowing helmets with cheek and jaw protection to be used at all levels of play.