In an online discussion Dr. Glen Fleisig of ASMI stated…
A study published in the current issue of the American Journal of Sports Medicine by our group compared the biomechanics of the fastball, curveball, change-up and slider. This study found relatively few differences in shoulder and elbow forces among the fastball, curveball and slider, while the change-up showed lower forces. Therefore, this study does not support the notion that the curveball is especially stressful and dangerous. HOWEVER, this study used college baseball pitchers and it is unknown whether there would be differences between the fastball and curveball in youth pitchers. This is something that needs to be looked into next. I can tell you that the anatomy of a youth baseball pitcher makes him susceptible to some additional risks that adults are not susceptible to. Specifically, youth pitchers have soft spots in the ends of their bones (as do all children), known as “growth plates.” These growth plates are the areas of your bones where most of the growth occurs. Youth pitchers who end up with elbow and shoulder injuries often have injuries at these growth plates. Again, not to confuse the issue, there are a number of studies looking at curveballs in young pitchers, and at this point, it is inconclusive in my opinion.
I’ll hold my comments on one aspect.
But I will say this, when we allow doctors to control an activity, particularly one that has inherent risks, that activity will always (Without exception) become more consevative in it’s approach to the activity. Is this bad or good? Positive or negative? I don’t know. What is sure is that there are places where doctors don’t control this activity, in my opinion those places are in ascendency as far as baseball and particularly pitching dominance.
We are also subject to the fickle winds of the science, theories change all of the time (Check out the recent post by Paul Nyman on this site, he notes the many changes Dick Mills has had in his theories. The science of pitching a baseball changes with regularity, by degrees.
In the evolution of my knowledge of pitching I have learned (Changed) many things and expect to continue to do that.
Boy do I look forward to comments on this.