Youth sports injuries have been on the rise for years, and baseball players are not immune to this trend. 1 in 5 players between the ages of 9 and 15 will have an injury each year. The good news is that only 5% of these injuries result in surgery, or being unable to continue to play baseball. More good news comes when you learn that the majority of injuries are preventable with proper training and awareness.
Many of the injuries seen in baseball are common to other youth sports and include things like:
- Sprains and strains
- Minor injuries like bruises, scrapes, abrasions, and muscle cramps
Keys to preventing these types of injuries are making sure that players have a proper base of strength and fitness to participate, adequate warm up before practice and games, and making sure that players have enough recovery time built into their schedules throughout the season.
Injuries Unique to Baseball/Softball
In addition to the common injuries above, baseball sees a large number of injuries due to overuse. These most commonly occur in the shoulder and arm, typically in a pitcher. Parents of athletes who pitch need to be aware of the risks of pitching and guidelines to minimize them. Studies have shown that pitchers who average more than 80 pitches in a game are 4x more likely to get injured. They have also found that pitching for more than 8 months out of the year, causes your injury risk to increase by 5x.
Tips to prevent pitching injuries
- Pick a team to pitch for -if you play on multiple teams, choose oneto pitch for and play a different position on the other to reduce the chances of injury
- Don’t play a position that requires a lot of throwing on your non-pitching days, like catcher
- Take 2 to 4 months off each year from pitching to rest your arm
- Keep your arm healthy and strong. The thrower’s ten was developed specifically for throwing athletes and is a good place to start.
- Stop pitching if you feel pain, or fatigue. Throwing through problems will change your mechanics and put you at risk for serious injury
- Follow the guidelines for rest days and total pitches below.
If you’re 14 or under:
|Pitches Thrown||Rest Days|
|1-20||No rest day required|
|21-35||1 rest day|
|36-50||2 rest days|
|51-65||3 rest days|
|66+||4 rest days|
15 and under can throw a bit more
|Pitches Thrown||Rest Days|
|1-30||No rest day required|
|31-45||1 rest day|
|46-60||2 rest days|
|61-75||3 rest days|
|76+||4 rest days|
Finally, you should aim to keep under the maximum number of daily pitches set by Little League Baseball and Softball:
|Age||Max Pitches Per Day|
Article first published by The Private Practice Section of The American Physical Therapy Association.
PTC_therapy July 3rd, 2019
Posted In: General