Young pitchers at risk for serious injuries


#1

:frowning: Baseball experiences great popularity both for the enjoyment of participation and for the low risk of significant injury. Approximately nine million players between the ages of six to seventeen annually attest to the “love of the game”. Unfortunately over the past three decades
the game has become of increasing importance, providing economic benefits and societal status to those with high levels of performance. As a result a youth recreational “game” is becoming increasingly “serious” and the primary goal of participation has become “success”. Baseball, as
any sport, should promote fun, participation, skill development, maximal effort, a desire to win,an understanding of losing, teamwork, cooperation, determination, perseverance and social skills. Baseball must also give young athletes the chance to develop and maximize their skills to
reach their highest level of achievement, but overzealous practices in pursuit of success can lead to serious overuse injuries. This has become most apparent in young pitchers who have sustained injuries previously only seen in adult players. These injuries are of the magnitude that
can limit ultimate performance and end the ability to pitch.
“Little League elbow” was a popular term in the past, an inflammation of the inner part of the elbow in young pitchers… In the overwhelming majority of players, the symptoms resolved with no long-term problems. Recently it has become apparent that not all elbow and shoulder problems experience simple and complete resolution. As a result of overuse, poor
biomechanics, and a lack of appropriate conditioning, the significant forces created by the pitching motion has resulted in growth plate fractures, growth abnormalities, strains and tears of the rotator muscles and tendons, joint instability, tears of the cartilage in the joint, bone
breakdown and ligament tears, including the ulnar collateral (Tommy John) ligament. Long periods of rest, extensive rehabilitation and surgery are frequently required to heal these injuries, some of which will never return to their previously normal structure.
DR. JAMES ANDREWS - EXPERIENCE
Dr. James Andrews, of the Alabama Sports Medicine and Orthopaedic Center and the American Sports Medicine Institute in Alabama repaired an average of four Tommy John ligaments from 1995 – 1997 on high school pitchers, 17 between 1998 – 2000, 26 by 2002 and more than 54 in 2003. There is little question in his mind that serious arm injuries are increasing in under 18 year-old players, even those between 11 to 15 years of age.
DR. FRANK JOBE - OPINION
Dr. Frank Jobe, associate of the Kerlan – Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic and Marilyn M. Pink, Ph.D., P.T., director, Biomechanics Laboratory, Centinela Hospital Medical Center express similar concern about the injuries to young pitchers. They believe the passion for success has
resulted in an excessive number of pitches thrown by young players. This is often associated with the additional risk of poor biomechanics and inadequate conditioning. Dr. Jobe believes the current environment of excess needs, moderation or serious injuries will continue to increase.
What did professional pitchers do?
DR. CHANDLER - ARE THE PRACTICES OF TODAY’S YOUNG PITCHERS NECESSARY TO REACH ELITE LEVELS OF PERFORMANCE?
Dr. Joseph B. Chandler, chairman of the Major League Baseball Medical Advisory Committee, interviewed 30 major and 71 minor league pitchers in 2002 to determine their pitching history. High pitch counts and reports of arm injuries were uncommon and most first 2 threw a curveball at 14 and a slider at 18 years. Year round baseball was uncommon and most
played other sports during the year. Professional pitchers reached their elite status without following the excess practices of today.
DR. BARRY GOLDBERG – DR. FREDERICK MUELLER
USA BASEBALL MEDICAL & SAFETY ADVISORY COMMITTEE
Dr. Barry Goldberg, director of Sports Medicine, Yale University Health Services and Dr. Frederick Mueller, chairman of the University of North Carolina Sports and Exercise Research at the Center for Catastrophic Sports and Injury Research, demonstrated in a preliminary pilot study in 2004 that early pitching practices appear to create an increased risk for
an eventual pitching injury. Pitching volume, type of pitches thrown, inadequate rehabilitation of prior injuries and a lack of formal conditioning appear to be increasing the chance of sustaining a later significant injury.
Too much too soon combined with inappropriate preparation has caused a growing incidence of serious arm injuries in young pitchers.


#2

Coachmo,

Did you write this or is it a published article? If a published article, do you have a reference for it? Thanks.


#3

Roger
http://www.wvraa.org/Docs/pitching_risk.pdf
Tks
coachmo