For San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey, what began as a promising follow-up season to a 2010 National League Rookie of the Year and World Championship campaign ended May 25, 2011, when a home-plate collision ended his season in a particularly biting fashion. Even though he wore the correct baseball equipment on that day, Posey's injury was more a result of poor technique than utilizing improper materials.
After colliding with the Florida Marlins' Scott Cousins that fateful day, doctors diagnosed Posey with three torn ligaments and a broken bone in his left leg. With his season derailed by one play, Posey has had nine months to reflect on what he could have done differently that game, along with how he can prevent such an injury from occurring again.
Posey has returned to spring training this year with a fresh outlook. Although he considered changing positions to get out from behind the plate, he has decided to stay the course. Still, management has directed Posey not to block the plate anymore, but instead to try to find other ways to apply tags on runners. He also views the game somewhat differently.
"I think it's just a greater appreciation for doing what I do, just enjoying this, being out here today catching a couple of [bull]pens and maybe some of the not-so-glamorous stuff of a catcher's job," Posey said. "Enjoying that stuff a little bit more and just knowing that it can be gone quick."
Posey's injury triggered a debate in the sporting world about whether Major League Baseball rules protect catchers enough, or whether catchers should even bother blocking the plate at all.
Youth baseball coaches should insist upon their players wearing the proper youth catchers gear to stay safe behind the plate. They should also teach proper catching techniques that will prevent youth players from suffering injuries similar to Posey's.