I recently attended the 29th Annual Baseball Injuries Seminar hosted by the American Sports Medicine Institute. Here the focus was not only performance enhancement but also injury prevention. Injury prevention amongst youth baseball players has become a focus of several organizations including Little League Baseball® and USA Baseball®. On the flight back from the conference I started compiling some of the information that pertained to injury prevention so I could inform the public about how to prevent some of these baseball injuries. Prevention is the BEST Treatment.
The fastest measured joint motion in a human occurs when the pitcher’s arm is accelerating towards the plate. (if the arm maintained that peak speed for 1 sec, it would make 20 full revolutions!)
The number of MLB pitchers that threw more than 120 pitches in a given appearance in the 2000 baseball season: 528……in 2010: 158.
If we look at just these two facts we can say that pitching is stressful to the throwing arm and that the MLB understands this more today than they did 10 years ago due to the fact that pitchers are not throwing as many pitches per outing.
If a pitcher throws more than 100 innings in a season, their risk of having a serious arm injury goes up by 3.5x’s.
If a pitcher throws fatigued, their risk of having a serious arm injury skyrockets to a 36x’s higher risk.
Pitchers with full range of motion (ROM), which is 180°, have shown to perform better than those with less than full ROM.
A pre-participation evaluation that is specific to baseball (this includes assessing shoulder ROM, shoulder blade strength and function, core strength, etc) helps to identify those players at risk and should be performed yearly.
Performance enhancement in pitchers can only occur when they are healthy so injury prevention is the first step. I feel those of us that coach and treat baseball players should know all that we can so our youth can enjoy baseball for many, many years. For questions or the references to this article please contact In Motion Spine and Joint Center at 615-302-4747 or visit us at WWW.IMSJC.COM.