How to Avoid Common Baseball Injuries

No sport demonstrates the risks of overuse injuries among young athletes than baseball does. Fortunately, most injuries associated with youth baseball can be prevented with some simple changes. What can parents and coaches do to prevent youth baseball injuries?

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That’s Gotta Hurt

The Injuries That Changed Sports Forever

Through the stories of a dozen athletes whose injuries and recovery advanced the field (including Joan Benoit, Michael Jordan, Brandi Chastain, and Tommy John), Dr. Geier explains how sports medicine makes sports safer for the pros, amateurs, student-athletes, and weekend warriors alike.

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Frequently Asked Questions on Baseball Injuries

+Should kids pitch all year without a break?

-Should kids pitch all year without a break?

The transition to year-round baseball has certainly played a role in the increased incidence of shoulder and elbow injuries in young pitchers. Instead of playing different sports in different seasons, now kids can play for different baseball teams throughout the year, year after year. This concentration on one sport leads to continued stress on growing shoulders and elbows with no rest. They should take three consecutive months off each year. They can play other sports, but they should play sports that don’t stress the shoulder and elbow, such as soccer or other non-throwing sports.
+Should pitchers and field players wear helmets?

-Should pitchers and field players wear helmets?

When a baseball comes rocketing off the batter’s bat, a pitcher often has little or no time to react and get out of the way. If that ball hits him in the head or face, he can suffer a skull or facial fracture, brain hemorrhage or eye damage. At the high school and college levels, pitchers hit with a batted ball comprise the second most common mechanism of injury, making up 34% of all of the catastrophic injuries. While the chances of suffering an injury getting hit in the head or face with a ball coming off a player’s bat are not high, these events can be devastating if they occur. These helmets could help pitchers avoid catastrophic injuries.
+What is one of the biggest risks for injury among young pitchers?

-What is one of the biggest risks for injury among young pitchers?

Pitching with arm fatigue or arm pain is by far the riskiest for a young thrower. The odds of suffering a pitching injury among young pitchers who often threw with tired arms were almost eight times greater than for kids who never pitched with arm fatigue. Likewise, compared to pitchers who never threw with arm pain, the kids who often pitched through pain were 7.50 times more likely to suffer an arm injury. Despite the risks, almost 70% of young pitchers say they often or at least sometimes pitch with tired arms. Over one-third do so with arm pain.
+Why are Tommy John surgeries increasing?

-Why are Tommy John surgeries increasing?

Kids today are encouraged to pick one sport and play it year-round as early as seven years old. The best young baseball pitchers now give up their summers instead of taking a break from baseball. They pitch in showcase events for scouts and a chance at millions of dollars. They play travel ball and pitch straight through the year. With essentially no time to rest, these kids pitch month after month for years on end. These tiny ligaments just can’t withstand that constant stress without periods of rest. We shouldn’t be surprised that Tommy John surgeries, which were only performed on pro athletes 10 and 20 years ago, are increasingly done on college and high school pitchers.