The growing focus on youth sports injuries may be most apparent in
baseball leagues and organizations across the country – often talk
involves increasing pitch counts, overburdened arms and pitchers who are
burnt out before even completing their high school playing career.
The data concerning the arm injuries of these young pitchers has been
limited to date, however. To better grasp how behavior and activities
has influenced injury patterns, a group of researchers from the American
Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine (AOSSM) led a national survey
of young players. Some highlights of their research are included below.
Of 754 participating pitchers:
-43.4% pitched on consecutive days
-30.7% pitched on multiple teams with overlapping seasons
-19% pitched multiple games a day during the 12 months prior to the study
These numbers alone are concerning, especially considering they suggest sizeable amounts of young arms are going against recommendations from the American Sports Medicine Institute (ASMI).
The study goes on to say that those pitchers reporting these
activities had a greater chance of experiencing arm pain related to
pitching, leading to an increased risk of injuries. Those with arm pain
had 7.5 times greater odds of suffering a pitching-related injury. The
full study is available online and will be published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine (AJSM) in the coming months.
All told, it seems that efforts at awareness and education about best
practices and injury prevention for youth baseball may need to
improve. Do you think these survey results reflect trends in youth
pitching – or do the numbers seem high?
Full study results and data are available here. Below is a full list of study authors.
Jingzhen Yang, PhD
Barton J. Mann, PhD
Joseph H. Guettler, MD
Jeffrey R. Dugas, MD
James J. Irrgang, PT, PhD, ATC, FAPTA
Glenn S. Fleisig, PhD
John P. Albright, MD