Advice for a young pitcher going forward after an injury

My son (12) is recovering from a growth plate shoulder injury. It doesn’t appear to be all that severe according to the orthopedist he’s seeing. However, I think that it was much worse and has healed significantly already. He’d been diagnosed with RC tendonitis and hadn’t seen the orthopedist until recently. Up until then he did PT for 6 weeks, drastically limited his throwing by moving to 1B, sat out of practices, rest and more rest, but not complete immobilization until recently.

During PT his strength increased and pain decreased except for one particular exercise and that’s what finally prompted x-rays and referral to an orthopedist. The initial recommendation from him is to use a sling and shut down most arm use for 4 weeks, then re-evaluate, possibly at that time be able to resume PT and ease back into normal activity.

The 4 weeks would put him right at the first game of his all-star season. He’s still on the team though he cannot do much at practice wearing a sling. He could play now, so I know that he’ll be ok to play in 4 weeks. He’s voluntarily shutting down more than having to because of pain or ineffectiveness. He’s also paying the price of having just minimum playing time to look forward to regardless if he/we feel it would be best or he ends up being more or less 100%. I don’t care and he doesn’t care. He’s going to have plenty of post-puberty success if he stays healthy. I just don’t like the attitude of it being punishment. Would make a lot of kids think twice about doing the right thing and healing up.

He’s going into 8th grade. He gets one year of 90’ diamonds playing Babe Ruth or something like it before HS. He wants to be a pitcher in HS. I/he/we have some plans as to what he should be doing to protect his arm and improve at the same time, but I’d really like to get advice from those that have been there and done that.

The above two statements seem to be contradictory. I’d be inclined to think the first statement is more accurate. I say that based on experience with my son’s growth plate injury (elbow - not shoulder). Growth plate injuries are not to be taken lightly as they are easily reinjured and can linger if not allowed to fully heal. When my son’s doctor prescribed 6 weeks of rest, I made my son take 8 weeks. Then he took a month to ease back into throwing before pitching. He did one week so short toss, one week of medium toss, and two weeks of long toss before throwing his first pitch. This seemed to work.

This is the correct perspective.

Are you saying the limited playing time would be punishment? Are you sure the coach isn’t just looking out for your son?

Don’t lose sight of that long-term goal.

Growth plate injuries can be caused by a number of things but overuse is one common cause. If this was the case, you certainly can do a number of things including sticking to pitch count limits, ensuring proper rest between outings, and shutting down for at least a couple months per year. Also, learn to recognize signs of fatigue and pull your son when he is fatigued even if he hasn’t reached his pitch count limit yet. Now these things are harder to employ if you’re not the coach but between you, your son and your son’s coach, these things need to happen.

10-4 x 100 with Roger. Keep your eye on the prize. If his ultimate goal is to play high school varsity baseball and beyond, don’t sweat the small stuff. It doesn’t matter right now. Err on the more conservative side (like Roger said)… growth plates are a major issue.