WASHINGTON: A new US study finds that baseball injuries among youth are on the rise, with the risk of a serious throwing injury 16 times more likely than it was 30 years ago. Here’s how to keep your baseball-loving youngster safe.
“Our research team and colleagues from around the country saw several recurring themes,” said Dr. Joseph Guettler, an orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist at Beaumont Health System in Michigan. “It became very clear that dangerous pitching behavior is occurring among pitchers as young as little league all the way through their high school years.”
The study, announced Friday, involved 754 pitchers between the ages of nine and 18 throughout the US.
Some of the findings concluded that contrary to US guidelines limiting pitches thrown, 13.3 percent of pitchers pitched competitively for more than eight months of the year, 40 percent pitched in a league without pitch counts or limits, 56.6 percent pitched on back-to-back days, and 19 percent pitched more than one game in the same day.
Nearly one-third of these pitchers pitched for more than one team during the same season; one-third played only baseball and 10 percent also played catcher on the same team, another high-volume throwing position.
“The most prevalent reasons for arm pain and tiredness can be boiled down to five major issues,” Guettler said.
- Pitching for more than one team during the same season
- Pitching more than one game during the same day
- Pitching on back-to-back days
- Pitching in a league without pitch counts or playing year-round
- Throwing curve balls before high school
Guettler said that the first step to bringing down the number of pitching injuries is with what he has dubbed the “Rule of Ones”: one game day, one day of pitching then rest, one position at a time during a pitched game, and one pitch before high school, and at least one season of some other organized sport. Plus for parents: one complaint of arm soreness or tiredness means one week off, he advised.