Preventing Little League Throwing Injuries

This is an exciting time of year as we look forward to longer warmer days to come. With this change in weather also comes an increase in outdoor activities. Pretty soon ballparks will be filled with little league baseball players excited for the upcoming season. Little league baseball is a sensational time that brings families and friends together to cheer on their favorite athletes. With the increased popularity of little league baseball, there is no surprise we are seeing an increased incidence of shoulder and elbow pain in the youth athlete. I want to share some tips with you to help your little leaguer have a pain free season. The number one cause of shoulder and elbow pain in the overhead throwing athlete is overuse. Athletes who pitched more than 100 innings per year were 3.5x more likely to be injured than those who pitched less than 100 innings. Adolescents who pitched more than 8 months per year were 5x more likely to be injured than those who pitched less. Pitchers who threw more than 80 pitches per game had almost 4x the risk of injury. The American Sports Medicine Institute shared some tips for coaches and parents to help prevent overuse injuries in the adolescent athlete. 1. Watch for signs of fatigue such as decrease in velocity, decreased accuracy, breakdown in throwing mechanics, and increased time between pitches. 2. Pitchers should not throw more than 100 innings in a calendar year. 3. Coaches should follow the pitch count rules. 4. Avoid pitching on multiple teams within the same season. 5. Learn good throwing mechanics as soon as possible 6. A pitcher should not play catcher for the same team. 7. Take 2-3 months off from overhead throwing each year. 8. If an athlete experiences pain while throwing have him evaluated by a medical professional in order to develop the proper treatment plan. images-3 2010 Pitch Count Guidelines according to Little League Baseball Regulations

AGE

        PITCHES/DAY

REST DAYS

7-8

50 pitches

               21-35 pitches  / 1 rest day

9-10

75 pitches

               36-50 pitches / 2 rest days

11-12

85 pitches

               51-65 pitches / 3 rest days   

13-14

95 pitches

             66+ pitches / 4 rest days

15-16

17-18

95 pitches

105 pitches

              31-45 pitches / 1 rest day

             46-60 pitches/ 2 rest days

             61-75 pitches/ 3 rest days

           76+ pitches/ 4 rest days

 

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