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INVENTOR DEVELOPS A BREAKAWAY BASE

INVENTOR DEVELOPS A BREAKAWAY BASE

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An inventor has developed a breakaway base to help amateur and professional ball players eliminate ankle injuries, but one of North Carolina's minor league teams has canceled its experiment with the new base.

Roger Hall, a former baseball coach at Elizabethtown College, is the developer of the Rogers Break Away Base, a big league lookalike that detaches when baserunners risk injury on a slide that's too fast or too poor.The Centers for Disease Control has estimated that more than 1.7 million sliding injuries occur each year nationally, with 360,000 requiring a hospital visit. A University of Michigan study found the use of Hall's bases reduced injuries 96 percent during a three-year test.

Hall's anchoring system is the same as a one-piece base, with a square metal rod fitted into a buried foundation. The difference is that the top is attached to a plate with rubber grommets that release when pressure exceeds 700 foot pounds.

It takes 3,500 foot pounds to dislodge a traditional base, the Michigan institute said.

When a base separates, the rubber plate remains to mark the original spot of the bag.

The South Atlantic League's Fayetteville Generals, a Class A team of the Detroit Tigers, installed the bases last year.

``I think that as contracts go up and up and the investment in a player goes up and up, injury prevention tools are going to get more of a look than they ever have before,' said Matt Perry, the Generals' general manager.

But the Generals have since pulled up the breakaway bases in favor of standard bases. Their use has been discontinued because Perry said the bases were popping off during games. He also said that the standard bases make maintenance easier.

``For the most part, it was a good experience,' Perry said. ``But if someone doesn't know how to slide by now, a new base won't help.'

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