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Study Examines Rise in Youth Baseball Throwing Injuries

dreamstime xs_29884029_copyA multicenter, national research study aimed to explore why there is a rise in youth baseball throwing pitching injuries despite the implementation of nationally recommended pitching limits. The study, led by Joseph Guettler, MD, an orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist, found several recurring themes relating to the dangerous pitching behavior among young pitchers from little league age to high school. The study was sponsored by the American Orthopedic Society for Sports Medicine.

A total of 754 pitchers between the ages of 9 to 18 participated in the study where all regions of the U.S. were represented. The results of the study note that the boys pitched on average 5.2 months per year and threw 5.4 innings per week when in-season. More than half of the study’s participants pitched for a travel club and 41.9% attended a pitching camp.

One-third of the pitchers reported having a pitching-related injury in the past 12 months, while seven out of ten reported significant arm tiredness in the past 12 months. The results also showed that almost 40% reported significant arm pain within the past 12 months. The findings concluded that 13.3% of pitchers pitched competitively for more than 8 months of the year despite national guidelines to limit pitches thrown.

In addition, 40% pitched in a league without pitch counts or limits, 56.6% pitched on back-to-back days, and 19% pitched more than one game in the same day. Guettler explains that the most prevalent reasons for arm pain and tiredness, including pitching on back-to-back days, pitching more than one game during the same day, and pitching for more than one team during the season, “can lead to arm pain and tiredness which can then lead to the most significant shoulder and elbow injuries.”

Guettler suggests remembering the “Rule of Ones” to decrease the number of pitching injuries; for example, one game a day, one day of pitching then rest, and one team at a time.

Source: Science Daily