Young baseball pitchers can lessen the likelihood of injury by taking steps to ensure their pitching does not overly fatigue their arm, according to recently published data.
Researchers conducted a national survey of 754 pitchers between the ages of 9 and 18 years who had pitched in organized youth baseball leagues during the previous 12 months. Self-reported risk-prone pitching activities were identified, while any correlations between all self-reported pitching activities, shoulder and elbow problems, and injuries were analyzed using multivariable logistic regression.
Of the overall cohort, 43.4% reported pitching on consecutive days, 30.7% pitched on multiple teams with overlapping seasons and 19% pitched multiple games a day. These activities led to having an increased odds ratio (2.53, 1.85 and 1.89, respectively) for pitching-related arm pain. Approximately 70% of pitchers threw curveballs, an activity that made them 1.66 times more likely to experience arm pain while throwing, according to the researchers.
Individuals who often pitched with arm tiredness and arm pain also had greater odds (7.88 and 7.50, respectively) of sustaining a pitching-related injury.
Pitching for a travel baseball club, playing baseball exclusively or playing catcher had no significant correlation to arm problems, the researchers found.
Disclosure: Funding for this study was provided by the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine.