Upper Body Injuries by Pro Stock Hockey, an online hockey store carrying pro stock equipment
- Young pitchers are at risk for arm injuries due to a number of factors, and pitching while fatigued is perhaps the biggest risk for injury
- MLB’s Pitch Smart guidelines are designed to reduce injury risk while still allowing for the competitive development of the young player.
- Parents, coaches, and league administrators would be wise to implement the Pitch Smart recommendations for their pitchers
As spring and summer baseball is ramping up, I’d like to remind our readers of a terrific resource for the young pitcher- MLB’s Pitch Smart guidelines. I’ve written about pitch counts, the “100 inning rule”, and pitching injuries in several other blog posts but it is worth pointing out some of the reasons why we should revisit this topic. Pitch Smart is an effort by Major League Baseball to critically evaluate factors responsible for injury risk to young pitchers and then create guidelines to minimize that risk. Pitch Smart is partnered with many of the brightest minds in sports health for throwers and has produced a set of recommendations based on evidence and experience.
The result of their effort is a set of age appropriate recommendations designed to keep young pitchers as healthy as possible.
We’ve definitely made progress in recognizing and putting in place recommendations to reduce injury risk, but as the website points out we still have some work to do. For example, a survey of youth pitchers published in 2014 showed that of the pitchers responding to the survey many were engaging in behaviors that risk the health of their arms:
- 45% pitched in a league without pitch counts or limits
- 5% pitched on consecutive days
- 4% pitched on multiple teams with overlapping seasons
- 2% pitched competitive baseball for more than 8 months per year
Those published statistics are a few years old and hopefully we’ve made some progress in this area thanks to the efforts of Pitch Smart and others.
Take a look at the age-specific guidelines. They are divided into 5 age groups. For example, in the 15-18 year group which would cover most of our high school aged athletes some of the key recommendations are:
Players can begin using breaking pitches after developing consistent fastball and changeup
- Do not exceed 100 combined innings pitched in any 12 month period
- Take at least 4 months off from competitive pitching every year, including at least 2-3 continuous months off from all overhead throwing
- Make sure to properly warm up before pitching
- Set and follow pitch-count limits and required rest periods
- Avoid playing for multiple teams at the same time
- Avoid playing catcher while not pitching
- Players should not pitch in multiple games on the same day
- Make sure to follow guidelines across leagues, tournaments and showcases
- Monitor for other signs of fatigue
- A pitcher remaining in the game, but moving to a different position, can return as a pitcher anytime in the remainder of the game, but only once per game
- No pitcher should appear in a game as a pitcher for three consecutive days, regardless of pitch counts
In my opinion, Pitch Smart’s recommendations are another example of much needed changes designed to keep young players playing longer and healthier. These are recommendations rather than rules, but if you are a league administrator I’d urge your league to have a close look at these recommendations and adopt them for your players.
Episode 17.17 with Hosts Steve Kashul and Dr. Brian Cole. Broadcasting on ESPN Chicago 1000 WMVP-AM Radio, Saturdays from 8:30 to 9:00 AM/c.
Segment One (01:25): Dr. Sandeep D. Amin discusses a new, non-invasive knee procedure called “cooled radio frequency ablation” (Coolief), that could bring some relief for patients suffering from debilitating chronic pain, for whom surgery is not an option.
The procedure uses radio frequency to target and mute the nerves responsible for sending pain signals from the arthritic knee to the brain. Coolief doesn’t repair arthritis in the knee, but eases the pain, helping patients go back to activities without discomfort and fewer medications.
“What we’re changing is the wiring of the knee — so we’re taking away the pain signal and interrupting it,” said Dr. Amin, a pain specialist at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago who performs the procedure and has over over 26 years of experience in pain management and anesthesiology.
Segment Two (11:55): Dr. Brian Cole discusses various aspects of the “second opinion” process; where the patient referral originates from in assessing the level of severity; explaining the similarities and contradictions in different diagnosis to educate the patient; the use of MRI testing and its implications; collaborating with other team personnel in evaluating player injuries.
Segment Three (23:30): Scott Sieder from Athletico Physical Therapy describes the Athletico Video Throwing Analysis program, who are the best candidates and how its used in a post injury recovery plan. There’s more to throwing than just the motion of your arm.
There’s actually a whole science dedicated to it-and Athletico offers a comprehensive approach. Our team of physical therapists, occupational therapists, certified athletic trainers, and physical therapy assistants combine their expertise in throwing analysis with slow-motion video analysis to enhance performance and help prevent injuries.
Whether you are returning from an injury or simply working to refine mechanics, Athletico has skilled professionals to assist you in optimizing your form and preparing your body for the field of competition, bringing you one step closer to making your goals a reality.
Episode 17.15 with Hosts Steve Kashul and Dr. Brian Cole. Broadcasting on ESPN Chicago 1000 WMVP-AM Radio, Saturdays from 8:30 to 9:00 AM/c.
Segment One (01:58): Matt Kredich, Executive Director at Tennessee Aquatics, Knoxville and USA Swimming; American Swim Coaches Association World Clinic Speaker. Matt describes the Aqua Boom training device for upper and lower body training and rehab using variable and progressive water resistance; converting a pool into a complete gym.
Segment Two (10:29): Dr. Cole and Steve talk about the causes and treatments for ACL and Meniscus tears in elite athletes as well as the general population.
Segment Three (18:50): Dr. Cole describes the anatomy of tendonitis, the various types of injuries and tendon tears and the various treatment alternatives.