Risk-Prone Pitching Activities and Injuries in Youth Baseball: Findings From a National Sample

Risk-Prone Pitching Activities and Injuries in Youth Baseball: Findings From a National Sample

 

 

(Albright et al.; The American Journal of Sports Medicine; March 13, 2014)

 

  • A national survey was conducted among 754 youth pitchers (ages 9 to 18 years) who had pitched in organized baseball leagues during the 12 months before the survey. Self-reported risk-prone pitching activities were identified and compared with recommendations by the American Sports Medicine Institute. Relationships between self-reported pitching activities, shoulder and elbow problems, and injuries were assessed using multivariable logistic regression.
  • 43.4% pitched on consecutive days, 30.7% pitched on multiple teams with overlapping seasons, and 19.0% pitched multiple games a day during the 12 months before the study. Pitchers who engaged in these activities had increased risk of pitching-related arm pain (odds ratio [OR] = 2.53, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.14-5.60; OR = 1.85, 95% CI = 1.02-3.38; OR = 1.89, 95% CI = 1.03-3.49, respectively).
  • Nearly 70% of the sample reported throwing curveballs, which was associated with 1.66 (95% CI = 1.09-2.53) greater odds of experiencing arm pain while throwing. Pitching-related arm tiredness and arm pain were associated with increased risk of pitching-related injuries. Specifically, those who often pitched with arm tiredness and arm pain had 7.88 (95% CI = 3.88-15.99) and 7.50 (95% CI = 3.47-16.21) greater odds of pitching-related injury, respectively.
  • However, pitching on a travel baseball club, playing baseball exclusively, or playing catcher were not associated with arm problems. Correlation of Torque and Elbow Injury in Professional Baseball Pitchers (Hawkins et al.; The American Journal of Sports Medicine; April 16, 2010) Note: Tom Noonan, MD is employed by COL
  • With an established biomechanical analysis model, 23 professional baseball pitchers were videotaped during spring training games and followed prospectively for the next 3 seasons for elbow injury.
  • There were overall statistical trends relating elbow injury with both higher elbow valgus torque (P = .0547) and higher shoulder external rotation torque (P = .0548) throughout the entire pitching motion. More importantly, there was an individual significant correlation of elbow injury with both higher elbow valgus torque (P = .0130) and higher shoulder external rotation torque (P = .0018) at the late cocking phase (pitching event of maximum external rotation of the shoulder). The late cocking phase appears to be the critical point in the pitching motion, where higher levels of torque at the shoulder and elbow can result in increased risk of injury. Manipulation of pitching mechanics to alter these torque levels or using these measures to identify pitchers at risk may help decrease injury rates.