In the recent past the sport of baseball has become, and will probably continue to be a year round activity with such events as showcases, fall ball and summer workouts. Activity and training of this magnitude and scope (the same type of training over, and over and over again) increases the chance for significant shoulder and elbow injury necessitating surgery. The following article by Dr. James Andrews and ASMI lays out a systematic plan for minimizing injury in baseball pitchers of high school and college-age: The main points are listed below:
- Don’t pitch more than 8 months per year
- Don’t throw more than 80 pitches per game
- Don’t throw a fastball above 85mph UNLESS you are trained and strong enough to do so (maximumsportperformance.com will do that for you)
- AND..the biggest: DO NOT throw when you are fatigued..your chance for shoulder or elbow surgery increases up to 3600% WOW!
Secondly, muscular arm soreness is expected and normal after throwing. Joint pain after or during throwing is not, and is believed to be a warning sign of developing overuse injury. The higher cumulative pitch count during a single game and throughout the season were the best indicators of developing shoulder and elbow joint pain. There is no correlation between pitch type and injury. Most coaches will tell you to avoid the “junk pitches” because of increased stress at the elbow. However, the fastball has the greatest amount of stress on the shoulder and elbow…so total pitch count should be watched more appropriately that “junk” pitch type.
Youth coaches should pay particular attention to the guidelines in these articles. Muscle and joint pain can occur now, but the real sport and life-altering injuries will come later. Be on the lookout coaches.
Download PDF here