Little League Elbow


#1

Hey everyone, My son Jacob is 10 and hurt his elbow pitching about 1.5 weeks ago. I got him in right away to an Ortho. He said he has a mild Type 1 fracture of the growth plate, otherwise known as Little League Elbow)LLE. He put him into a split and that comes off Monday and he starts Physical Therapy.

My question is this. He plays for a travel team that plays until the end of July. I’m not excited about the idea of him pitching again this year unless he makes a fully recovery and the doctor clears him for that. However, I’m wondering if anyone has experience with this and if he will be able to start hitting soon and if this will cause damage or not? We are for sure taking it slow as he has alot of upside in the future. His growth plates are huge so he has alot of growing to do. The doctor thought he could be well over 6’6". he is very tall and lanky right now with a live arm.

Any feedback to this type of injury would be appreciated. The doctor as well as his pitching coach say chances for a full recovery are GREAT!

Thanks
Jeff


#2

[quote=“hammelfam”]Hey everyone, My son Jacob is 10 and hurt his elbow pitching about 1.5 weeks ago. I got him in right away to an Ortho. He said he has a mild Type 1 fracture of the growth plate, otherwise known as Little League Elbow)LLE. He put him into a split and that comes off Monday and he starts Physical Therapy.

My question is this. He plays for a travel team that plays until the end of July. I’m not excited about the idea of him pitching again this year unless he makes a fully recovery and the doctor clears him for that. However, I’m wondering if anyone has experience with this and if he will be able to start hitting soon and if this will cause damage or not? We are for sure taking it slow as he has alot of upside in the future. His growth plates are huge so he has alot of growing to do. The doctor thought he could be well over 6’6". he is very tall and lanky right now with a live arm.

Any feedback to this type of injury would be appreciated. The doctor as well as his pitching coach say chances for a full recovery are GREAT![/quote]

If he was my son, I would completely shut him down for the year (that includes hitting).

I would also rethink the travel team.

How many games do you play during the year?
How many months of the year do you play?
How many games per week do you play?
How many games per weekend do you play?

For each of the above, how often and how much does he pitch?


#3

A Salter-Harris Type I injury can be a mild widening of the growth plate or a more serious separation. If it is mild, it has a good chance for recovery. However, the prescribed recovery time seems too short to me - even if it is just a mild injury. Did the doctor x-ray both arms to compare growth plate width in each?

You might find this article helpful:

http://espn.go.com/trainingroom/s/2000/0426/503111.html

Keep in mind that I am not a doctor. This is all just my opinion based on what little I think I know.


#4

My son had a partial separation of his growth plate about four years ago. His doctor shut him down from throwing for a month but he was able to hit without any problems. A second x-ray and strength tests that your doctor and or PT will administer will determine when he can start on a rehab throwing program.

Your doctor will tell you what he can and can not do.

PT will likely take you through the end of June and I doubt if your doctor will release him to pitch this season.

I agree with Roger as to the travel team etc.

At ten years old he has a lot of time to develop.

Take it slow and focus on good solid mechanics. Don’t be surprised if his mechanics get out of wack when he goes through a growth spurt. This is common and will correct itself when his neurological system catches up with his muscular skeletal system

Limit his game appearances to one per week and throw one or two good bullpen sessions.

Keep up with the arm exercises your PT will give you even when he feels like he is back to 100%.

Do this and your son will likely have a strong and healthy arm when he gets to high school.


#5

At the little league level baseball is all about having[size=18] FUN[/size]. I doubt i would be fun for your son to have an elbow problem every time he played. Don’t pressure him into doing something that’s going to hurt him and cause him pain. Let him recover even if it means not pitching for a while. Let him enjoy his youth without stress.


#6

To answer a few of your questions.

  1. We play about 60 to 65 games depending on how many games we win in a tournement. That is stretched out from april to July, so about 15 -16 games a month.

  2. We have 8 pitchers on the team, so his innings are kept down and normally only pitches about 70 pitches total a week.

  3. This is a mild injury according to the doctor. In fact, on side by side X-rays, the injury doesn’t show up. it was only the tenderness(which has already gone away) that the doctor called this LLE.

  4. This doctor is one of the best in Indianapolis. He has several of the colts as his patients, so I will of course do what he recommends. He is also VERY conservative. If he happens to tell me my son is ready to go, I will believe him.

5 . His mechanics are very good. He has worked with a local pitching coach for 2 years.

Thanks for all your replies. I was looking for people that have gone through this in the past to get there stories on this injury.

Thanks
Jeff


#7

That’s a lot of games, and too many for a 10U in my opinion.


#8

everyone is entitled to there opinion and I’ve read several post’s by you stating your opinion of travel ball and that’s great. I will say however, I feel you lump every travel team in one group. We face alot of the same teams in travel that I know pitch the same 3 to 5 kids over and over again. That is what is wrong with Travel. We have 10 kids on our roster. we have 5 kids that rotate starting and we have 3 kids that do well in relief. We also have the other 2 kids being developed to relief and they have started doing so the past 2 weeks.

With that said, we don’t “USE” pitchers. Everyone on our team is developed to pitch and that is how we selected them. We know it is a long season and we prepare for it.

Roger: You mentioned that you thought it was short recovery period for my son even if it was mild. I might have given the wrong impression. The splint comes off after 2 weeks and then he start PH. The doctor said it could be 3 to 8 weeks depending on how it looks once we start PH. So, it may be much longer before he plays. I know that he will NOT play until he is cleared to do so AND I’m convinced he is ready. I know my son better than any doctor. Even if the doctor oks him, I will know if mentally, he is ready.

Thanks


#9

Thanks for clarifying the recovery time. That sounds better to me. “PH” means physical therapy? (I’m use to seeing it called “PT”.)

I know you weren’t asking for opinions on your son’s work load, but…

I think it’s great that your son’s team develops all of the players to pitch. We do that on my younger son’s team as well. But how much does your son’s team practice in addition to playing those 15-16 games per month? It all adds up and the wear and tear is cumulative. If you take a step back and think about it, a 10yo really shouldn’t be encountering LL Elbow. I’m not trying to give you a hard time. It’s just that overuse tends to sneak up on you. Ask me how I know. :wink:


#10

Our first 6 kids do not throw at practice at all. They did of course during February to the start of April to get ready. Once they started pitching, we will work on some individual drills with them if we see any problems, however, they don’t pitch at practice. The other 4 kids do pitch at least once a week during practice doing drill work and pitching to me. They throw about 25 pitches at that time.

i’m not a doctor, but my son’s situation is a bit different according to his doctor. After describing how this happened, he was inclined to say it was more of a freak type thing than overuse. He said with overuse, you will have some pain develop over a period of time in most instances. My son was at pitch #28 when a pitch he threw came up about 5 ft short. I looked at him and right away knew he had something wrong.

Jacob, my son, had only thrown in about 6 games this year. During Feb to April, we threw twice a week. Starting with 25 pitches int he feb to 4o to 45 in Late March. I’m no expert, but that shouldnt’ be overuse in terms of pitching. He does play 3rd and LF when not pitching.

The doctor said, and I’ve found other articles to back this up, that LLE can also occur from a single throw. Something got caught when he threw and it caused his strain.

We will see, I will update you on his outcom next week when we go back to the doctor. He already feels no pain when he takes his splint off, however, his mobility is not good. I’m sure that is what the PT is for as well as strengthing it up.

You were correct, I put PH and not PT. sorry.

Jeff


#11

[quote=“Chris O’Leary”]

That’s a lot of games, and too many for a 10U in my opinion.[/quote]

Yep.


#12

Jeff,

Sounds like you have a good handle on things and have good communication with your doctor. Good luck to your son with his recovery.

One final note I’ll toss out there since I don’t know if this is your first time through the youth baseball thing or not…

I tend to agree with the others about the number of games your son is playing along with the number of practices maybe being too much. And my concern isn’t a pitching issue. It’s a mental issue - specifically, burn-out. At only 10 years old, he is playing lots of baseball. At this rate, you may find that after another 2 years he may be burnt out. My younger son started playing baseball at 10 and by about 12-13, he was kind of tired of baseball. He liked it but it had become somewhat of a job. Now, I will also say that he didn’t play other sports - it was baseball all year round. But, for part of that time, it was also a coach who liked to yell and be negative. Lot’s of things contribute to burn-out but I feel it starts with playing too much. So, I would strongly suggest encouraging your son to take a break from baseball and play other sports each year.


#13

I agree.


#14

He plays basketball as well. He is off at the end of July from Baseball and he starts basketball in Late October thru Early February. Baseball starts in late January, but only once a week until March.

Also, this is my only child. I ask him all the time what “HE” wants to do. He loves baseball and basketball. I’ve asked him if he would prefer to play just in house baseball and he tells me absolutely not.

I’m not opposed to in house baseball. it worked fine for us until he was 9. we had a boat and used it all the time. I miss that. I’m doing what my son enjoy’s doing. When/If the time comes he wants to do something else, I’ll be ready for that change.

Thanks for all of your input and I’ll keep you aprised of his outcome.


#15

That’s awesome.

I’ll just be butting out now. :oops:


#16

[quote=“Roger”]Jeff,

Sounds like you have a good handle on things and have good communication with your doctor. Good luck to your son with his recovery.

One final note I’ll toss out there since I don’t know if this is your first time through the youth baseball thing or not…

I tend to agree with the others about the number of games your son is playing along with the number of practices maybe being too much. And my concern isn’t a pitching issue. It’s a mental issue - specifically, burn-out. At only 10 years old, he is playing lots of baseball. At this rate, you may find that after another 2 years he may be burnt out. My younger son started playing baseball at 10 and by about 12-13, he was kind of tired of baseball. He liked it but it had become somewhat of a job. Now, I will also say that he didn’t play other sports - it was baseball all year round. But, for part of that time, it was also a coach who liked to yell and be negative. Lot’s of things contribute to burn-out but I feel it starts with playing too much. So, I would strongly suggest encouraging your son to take a break from baseball and play other sports each year.[/quote]

Thats right Roger. I would like to see my son play through High School if that’s what he wants. Truthfully, I hope he does, because I like watching him play and being involved in this part of his life, plus, it keeps him out of trouble (mostly…I mean he is a 14 yo boy after all). In that vein, I think that too much of any sport increases risk of injury, detachment from other important things like mowing the lawn and doing homework, and encourages him to put all of his eggs in one basket. If that basket is dropped, no more eggs.

Bottom line, like Roger said, it’s just healthier for a young man to get a break from a thing even if he loves it more than anything.

Sounds like you have a pretty healthy attitude toward your boy. Good luck and have fun!


#17

Just a quick update

We went to the Ortho Yesterday and he did another x-ray(Negative again) and then proceeded to poke and prod Jacob all over looking for any pain. He found nothing. He is currently Painfree and started range of motion excercises. He is currently 85 to 90% back to normal mobility wise. He wants to wait another 2 weeks before he starts swinging a bat and if he continues to improve at this pace, he will let him start throwing as well. by throwing, I do NOT mean pitching. Unless the ortho ok’s him(which He wont’ becuase he is the most conservative doctor in the city), he will not pitch this year again.

On a side not, my son’s left hand is working well. We have been done one hand drills hitting for the past 2 weeks and his left hand is getting much quicker :lol: He is allowed to start taking fly balls and grounders as long as he just flips the ball to the side. This made Jacob very happy as he is bored to death at practice right now.

Thanks again for all of your feedback.

Jeff


#18

We got the all clear from the doctor today to hit and start throwing. We are going to start by going to our pitching coach just to work on basic throwing to make sure we are ok.

Jacob will not even think about pitching this year. We have 5 tourney’s left and we’ll start with hitting and work our way onto the field. He normally plays 1st and 3rd. We will keep him more at 1st to avoid some hard throws and also in the outfield making sure he hits the cutoff.

Thanks to everyone for you thoughts and opinions.

Jeff


#19

You are taking the right approach to have your son work his way back into things slowly Good luck to your son.