Parents of Injured Teen Want Better Safety for Softball Players

January 15, 2014

The parents of a Lexington, Ky., teen who was injured when she was hit by a softball while standing in a dugout are asking officials to improve safety.

Jay and Traci Doleman told the Lexington Herald-Leader that they don’t want another high school athlete to suffer injuries like those of their 14-year-old daughter, Jayda.

The teen, who plays softball for Lafayette High School, suffered multiple eye socket fractures, permanent vision impairment, a concussion and a broken nose when she was hit last year by an errant throw during warm-ups.

Her parents say they would like to see higher fencing or netting installed in order to better protect players.

Fayette County school officials say they are planning safety enhancements to address the concerns.

“We will be extending the height of the fencing by an additional 2 feet, bringing it to 8 feet at Lafayette,” Fayette County Superintendent Tom Shelton said on Friday. “We will also be inspecting the softball and baseball dugouts at all of our other high schools and making appropriate safety enhancements prior to the start of spring practice.”

The Dolemans said they were encouraged by Shelton’s actions and also plan to talk to officials with the Kentucky High School Athletic Association.

“I’m sure this isn’t the first time that someone has gotten hit by a ball over a low fence,” said Jayda, who sat out for the rest of the 2013 softball season.

KHSAA Commissioner Julian Tackett said he wasn’t familiar with the Dolemans’ story, but he would be happy to speak with them.

He said the KHSAA follows the National Federation of State High School Association regulations, but could propose rule changes to address dugout safety.

“We are always open to suggestions,” he said, “even if that means proposing a national rule change.”

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