Little Leauge Elbow

My son is 11 and plays 11AAA. He’s been diagnosed with Little Leauge Elbow and told to take 3-6 months off of b-ball. The orthopedic said he doesn’t recommend boys pitching in a game until 15-16. In fact, he said most pro-pitchers would not let there own children pitch until 15-16. Any comments or suggestions? Tammy

What is “Little League Elbow”? I assume its tendonitis or something. Does he throw a curveball? Because that is most likely the reason he has a bad arm. There is nothing bad about pitching at a young age as long as you have decent mechanics and you dont throw any breaking pitches.

Little Leauge Elbow is a tear or seperation in the growth plate. Your elbow is not mature until you reach puberty around 15-16. My son has never thrown a curve ball and has not been allowed to learn. I think he’s just been over pitched.

“I think he’s just been over pitched.”

Likely the case. I’d follow doctors orders. How many games/innings a year did he pitch? It is a great honor to be chosen for these travel squads…and kids have fun…for a while, but you have just experienced why people who have been around a while are very careful about kids in pre-puberty and how much they play/throw. The ortho guy is likely overly cautious (Hes seen the very worst, can you blame him?). What I did for mine, was even though he was invited to travel teams, we stayed with the Little League/Babe Ruth program/ AllStars and instead of travel, we went to college camps in the summer. He learned mechanics, conditioning and fundementals from college and pro level personnel and was able to have fun. It allowed him to maintain enthusiam, get better and get used to being around a much higher level of talent. All for what would be a fraction of the cost of traveling all summer and into the fall. Just something to consider.

My son has played since he was 4 and year round for the past 3 years. As for how many games? To many to remember. But, he would pitch anywhere from 2-4 innings a game and then they would want him to catch after that sometimes. I put a quick stop to that. Great idea on the camps for this summer. I think we are going to lay low on game pitching for a couple more years. Coaches won’t like it. But he has a ton of talent and I hate to use it all up in his early years.

"My son has played since he was 4 and year round for the past 3 years. As for how many games? To many to remember. But, he would pitch anywhere from 2-4 innings a game and then they would want him to catch after that sometimes"

Wow!

“I think we are going to lay low on game pitching for a couple more years. Coaches won’t like it. But he has a ton of talent and I hate to use it all up in his early years.”

Let him have fun. Pitching isn’t the problem, pitching at that frequency and with that workload is way too much. The rest of the pattern is this, as he gets over this and if he kept up the level, his body would at some point not be able to rehabilitate and he would break down (At 11 they seem to handle it fine (And he hasn’t), but let me tell you by the time he’s a senior…which is a blink of an eye…he will pay). A new coach may also need to be considered. That is a big load, big time…who does the coach care about here? Who cares about whether they are happy or not, they’d cripple your kid and tell you they are doing you a favor…if they try to tell you what your son suffers from is not an over-use injury…run…and whom would you suppose you trusted to not cause such an injury. I think you should run anyway…but I’m not you.

Yeah…Going to have a real come to Jesus meeting with the coaches. If I dont like what I hear. We will go somewhere else.

That’s the right attitude. When it comes to young kids and travel ball, parents have to be smart and take a stand for their kids.

Regarding the Little League Elbow, it is definitely an overuse injury. And there are different grades of the injury which is also called a Salter Harris fracture, I believe. So you might hear “Salter Harris Type II” for example. You can google “Salter Harris” and find descriptions of the different types or grades.

The type or grade will dictate the amount of time off necessary and whether or not surgery is warranted. Most of the time with pitchers, the injury is of a less severe type and rest and proper rehab is all that is necessary. But make sure rehab is not rushed.