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Monday, February 17, 2014

Over use Elbow/Shoulder Injuries in Youth Baseball

             Injuries in young throwing athletes are on the rise, and elbow and shoulder injuries are the most common. Thousands of children are seen each year complaining of elbow or shoulder pain. Damage or tearing to the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) or growth plates in the elbow and shoulder are the most common injuries suffered and are often caused by pitchers throwing too much.  When any of these structures become damaged it can take weeks to months to rehabilitate (and, worst case scenario, surgery).  When athletes are forced out of any sport due to injury, it can jeopardize their chances of attending showcases and it can inhibit their overall performance if they are trying to play through the injury.

 
Elbow and shoulder injuries can be easily prevented.  Here are some easy steps to follow:
  • Warm up properly by running, stretching and easing into throwing
  • Rotate playing other positions besides pitching
  • Concentrate on age-appropriate pitch counts
  • If an athlete feels any pain while pitching, have them stop.  If the pain persists, have them see a medical professional.
  • Don't pitch on consecutive days
  • An athlete should communicate regularly about how their arm is feeling and if there is pain
  • Develop skills that are age-appropriate, for example, no off-speed (breaking type) pitches
  • Emphasis on control, accuracy and good mechanics
  • Master the fast-ball first and then the change-up second, before considering breaking-type pitches
  • Speak with a sports medicine professional (Doctor, Athletic Trainer or Sports Medicine Specialist) if you have any concerns about baseball injuries or baseball injury prevention strategies.
        Through proper injury prevention and sports enhancement training the risks of getting an overuse injury decreases.  Not only do you get injury prevention benefits through proper training, but your skills and deficits start to improve and your overall performance will be enhanced.  Athletes will notice an increase in control, velocity and strength.  The amount of time it takes to recover will also decrease. 


            Pitch counts, rest periods and pitch-age recommendations:

Source: From work by James R. Andrews, MD, and Glenn S. Fleisig, PhD.
 
 
AGE
PITCHES/GAME
7-8
50
9-10
75
11-12
85
13-16
95
17-18
105
AGES 14 AND UNDER
AGES 15-18
REQUIRED # OF REST DAYS AFTER PITCHING
66+
76+
4 calendar days
51-65
61-75
3 calendar days
36-50
46-60
2 calendar days
21-35
31-45
1 calendar day
1-20
1-30
None
PITCH
AGE
Fastball
8(+-2)
Slider
16(+-2)
Change-up
10(+-3)
Forkball
16(+-2)
Curveball
14(+-2)
Knuckleball
15(+-3)
Screwball
17(+-2)
             Please contact me for more information about injury prevention and sports enhancement training.  Don’t let an injury get in the way of your future.  WEBSITE 

           Please contact me if you have any topics you would like me to research.

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