Unfortunately, overuse injury in youth baseball players has become a major concern.
According to a Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research study, injuries throughout the baseball season (shoulder and/or elbow pain) are on the rise in young athletes, and surgery rates continue to increase.
“With the increase of injury in youth baseball, there has been more focus on the causes of the overuse injury. Of the proposed causes of overuse injury, fatigue or lack of adequate rest has been hypothesized as major precursors.” (Oliver, G. et.al.)
Fatigue leads to altered mechanics of the trunk, arm, and knee; and significantly diminishes shoulder flexion and internal rotation strength.
Young arms need limits. Pitchers (and other players) should not throw to the point of fatigue. Pitch counts should be implemented and monitored for practices, games (including simulated games), bullpen sessions, and scrimmages.
According to Dr. David Geier, orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist, youth pitchers should avoid the following risk factors:
- Pitching for multiple teams with overlapping seasons
- Pitching on consecutive days
- Pitching in multiple games in one day
- Pitching with arm fatigue or arm pain
- Pitching in showcase events
- Pitching throughout the year
Dr. Geier also stresses the importance of working with a knowledgeable, experienced trainer to improve core (shoulders through hips), shoulder, and upper-body strength and stability.
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