Pedal for Life; Preventing Injury in Young Pitchers; What is SoulCycle

Episode 17.14 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.

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Segment One (01:29): Dave Full is the founder of Pedal For Life, an organization he started after his great-nephew, Garrett Brockway, passed away and was an organ, eye and tissue donor. Through Garrett’s gifts of organ, eye and tissue donation, he helped 132 recipients across the country and many of his cartilage grafts through AlloSource have helped restore mobility for patients. An avid cycler, Dave rallied his cycling group and pitched the idea of riding across the country for donation awareness. The Pedal For Life team just completed their third 10-day, 1,000-mile ride for organ, eye and tissue donation.

AlloSource is one of the largest nonprofit cellular and tissue networks in the country, offering more than 200 types of precise cellular, cartilage, bone, skin and soft-tissue allografts to advance patient healing. For more than 20 years, AlloSource’s products have bridged the proven science of allografts with the advanced technology of cells, offering life-saving and life-enhancing possibilities in spine, sports medicine, foot and ankle, orthopedic, reconstructive, trauma and wound care procedures.


Segment Two(12:25): Dr. Cole and Steve talk about how to reduce throwing injuries in young pitchers.Grant Lewis

  • 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

It is important for each league to set workload limits for their pitchers to limit the likelihood of pitching with fatigue. Research has shown that pitch counts are the most accurate and effective means of doing so.

AGE DAILY MAX (PITCHES IN GAME) REQUIRED REST (PITCHES)
0 Days 1 Days 2 Days 3 Days 4 Days 5 Days
7-8 50 1-20 21-35 36-50 N/A N/A N/A
9-10 75 1-20 21-35 36-50 51-65 66+ N/A
11-12 85 1-20 21-35 36-50 51-65 66+ N/A
13-14 95 1-20 21-35 36-50 51-65 66+ N/A
15-16 95 1-30 31-45 46-60 61-75 76+ N/A
17-18 105 1-30 31-45 46-60 61-80 81+ N/A
19-22 120 1-30 31-45 46-60 61-80 81-105 106+

Segment Three (19:40): Brent Locey introduces SoulCycle and what makes it unique from other indoor cycling experiences. Brent is an instructor at SoulCycle and a NASM (National Academy of Sports Medicine) certified personal trainer and has been doing both in Chicago for over 2 years.  His first experience in the world of coaching and fitness came as a USS swimming coach and AAU/highschool basketball coach.

Take Your Journey: At SoulCycle we believe that fitness can be joyful. We climb, we jog, we sprint, we dance, we set our intention, and we break through boundaries. The best part: We do it together, as a community. Are you ready?

Change Your Body: SoulCycle is indoor cycling re-invented. Forty-five minutes is all it takes to transform the way you look and feel. Get ready for fat-burning cardio, a full-body workout (we’ve added hand weights and core work!), and choreography to work your core.

Find Your Soul: SoulCycle doesn’t just change bodies, it changes lives. With inspirational instructors, candlelight, epic spaces, and rocking music, riders can let loose, clear their heads and empower themselves with strength that lasts beyond the studio walls.

3 Traits of a Successful Pitcher

By Paul Kohler, MS, OTR/L, CHT for Athletico Physical Therapy

Henry Chadwick is credited with creating the first baseball statistics in the late 1800’s. To gauge a batter’s success, he formulated the batting average (hits divided by at-bats), and for pitchers, the ERA (earned runs given up per 9 innings pitched). Today, with groups like Fangraphs.com and the Society for American Baseball Research, there are mind boggling ways to analyze and predict the performance of baseball players.

No matter how you dice up the numbers, the pitcher’s ultimate responsibility is to make it difficult for the other team to score runs. This is why the ERA has become the standard measurement for a pitcher’s success, or failure. Keep your ERA low and you’re a success!  But we all know it’s not that easy. Just ask the countless number of ex-players who never made it to the big leagues. So what do the guys who make it have that the other guys don’t?

Athleticism

P.J. Finigan, pitching coach at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, puts athleticism at the top of his list when it comes to traits of successful pitchers. On Insidepitching.com he states that “having the athletic ability to consistently repeat their delivery” and having “the athleticism to be able to make mechanical changes when needed” are both characteristics that pitchers should have.

The need for this type of pitcher exists at all levels, and is important to all coaches. In scientific terms, athleticism is the equivalent of efficient kinematics and biomechanics. Slow motion video analysis has given researchers the capacity to break down the most effective and efficient pitching mechanics. This includes the pitcher’s posture at various points of delivery, appropriate stride lengths, hip rotation, balance points, as well as angles in the legs, hips, shoulders and arms.

Dr. Glen Fleisig, author of numerous studies on baseball throwing, suggests that one key to future success is training proper mechanics at a young age. As younger pitchers hit growth spurts and develop larger musculoskeletal bodies, their velocity also increases. Those who are already throwing with good mechanics are less likely to get injured, while making it easier to fine tune their delivery and focus on improving their performance.

Work Ethic

Work ethic starts with passion.  As quoted by Wayne Gretzky, “Maybe it wasn’t talent the Lord gave me, maybe it was the passion.” In his book, “the Sports Gene,” David Epstein devotes a whole chapter on the genetics of work ethic, drive and intrinsic motivation. Based on animal research, he postulates that while human drive to “work hard” is part nurture, there is a strong correlation to our genetic make-up. Although any pitcher can improve his or her performance by working with pitching and strength coaches, those who do extra work on their own will most likely outperform their competition.

Successful pitchers spend time alone fine tuning their mechanics, running for cardiovascular endurance, strength training to improve performance and reduce risk of injury, and studying other successful pitchers.  There are many quotes that characterize this type of athlete, such as “going the extra mile,” “giving it 110 percent,” “a gym rat,” “a student of the game,” etc.      

Intelligence

Yogi Berra told us that “Baseball is 90 percent mental, and the other half physical.” I didn’t like math either Yogi, so this makes perfect sense to me. As mentioned above, to be a successful pitcher you must keep your ERA low. This means getting more batters out than you let score.

The key to getting outs is keeping the batter off balance. It would be nice to strike everyone out, but even flame throwers who regularly hit 95 MPH or greater can’t strike everyone out. There are a few ways to keep batters off balance. One is to throw very hard. This decreases the time a hitter has to see the ball, and increases the chances they will not make good contact. But what if you don’t throw hard?

Other ways to keep a batter off balance include ball movement and changes in location. Having the capacity to throw a ball to the location you would like (athleticism), along with keeping the batter guessing where the ball will go next, places the advantage in the pitcher’s hands (literally). A successful pitcher will use past experiences and formulate a strategy to always keep the batter uncertain and off balance.

Stay Healthy

In addition to the traits listed above, pitchers must pay attention to their bodies and stay healthy in order to be successful at their position. Although some discomfort in the throwing arm is normal after a pitching session, this discomfort should be monitored and addressed if it doesn’t subside or becomes worse. When this occurs, it is a good idea to contact your nearest Athletico location to schedule a complimentary injury screening.

Schedule a Complimentary Injury Screen

JAMMED FINGER- SEE A DOCTOR OR NOT?

By Dev K. Mishra, M.D., President, Sideline Sports Doc, Clinical Assistant Professor of Orthopedic Surgery, Stanford University

Key Points:

  • A jammed finger occurs with direct impact to the tip of a finger and is generally a mild sprain that resolves in a few days
  • Some finger injuries can be more serious and require urgent evaluation. Examples would include complete tendon tears, joint dislocation, or broken bone.
  • Use The SAFE Method™ (Story, Appearance, Feel, Effort) to rapidly evaluate an injured finger

Catching or getting hit by a ball on the tip of a finger- a football, volleyball, or basketball- is generalyouthbasketball a common way kids and young adults can injure a finger. Fortunately, most finger injuries are reasonably mild and will allow for a quick return to sport. A “jammed finger” is a sprain of the soft tissue structures surrounding a joint. But sometimes a tendon (a structure that links muscle to bone, and cause fingers to move) can be torn, or a joint can be dislocated, or one of the bones broken.

There are some simple steps you can take to rapidly evaluate an injury and make a reasonable determination about whether it’s safe to continue play, or perhaps whether you should seek urgent physician evaluation. At Sideline Sports Doc, we use a simple evaluation for sports injuries that we call The SAFE Method™. The SAFE Method™ is an acronym for Story, Appearance, Feel, and Effort. You use these four points to evaluate pretty much any sports injury. Here’s how you use it for a jammed finger.

Story

Basically this means “how did it get hurt”. Most of the time there will be direct contact to the tip of the finger, that’s pretty obvious. But here you want to be on the lookout for things such as very severe pain, whether you may have heard a pop, or whether you may have felt something crack. Those are all “red flags” indicating that you might have a significant injury. If you have any of those red flags I’d recommend evaluation in an urgent care facility. And if you don’t have any red flags, move on to…

Appearance

What does it look like? In most typical jammed fingers your finger should look pretty normal in the first several minutes after the injury, this is common with a simple jammed finger. (It may get swollen an hour or two later…) But what if it is rapidly becoming swollen, or if it’s bent at an unusual angle, or if the joint is obviously out of position? If any of those things are what you’re seeing then go to an emergency room for proper treatment. Does it look normal? That’s good, so move on next to Feel.

Feel

In “feel” you want to press lightly on the injured joint. Generally this will produce mild soreness with a common jammed finger. But if your light touch feels really painful that’s a red flag indicating the need for urgent evaluation. Significant pain with light touch is often present with broken bones. Are you still doing ok? Then move on to the last evaluation step, Effort.

Effort

In this last step you want to make an effort at moving the injured area on your own. For hand injuries this is done by making a fist and opening the fingers out straight. If you’re able to do this fairly easily, that’s good and generally goes along with a jammed finger. But what if you can’t make a fist, can’t open the fingers, or if the joint just won’t move? That could mean a torn tendon, or possibly another significant injury. Get yourself to an urgent care facility.

So if you pass each of the four steps without any red flags or areas of concern youSideLineSportsDoc probably have a sprain or a jammed finger. Get home and apply RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation) and monitor your progress each day. But if things don’t start turning back to normal in the next few days, or if you have concerns that it isn’t healing as you’d expect then it’s always safe to seek proper physician evaluation.

New IHSA pitch limits can help save competitive pitchers from themselves

Pitching in his fourth game in three days, Matt Blaney headed back to the mound for the last two innings of a travel-league championship game because that was where his competitive drive steered him.

It didn’t matter that Blaney’s Chicago-area team led 9-0. It didn’t matter that Matt’s father, Tom, kept trying to make eye contact with his son in the dugout to give him the signal to stop throwing. It didn’t matter that, at the time, Matt was 14.

This was baseball life as the Blaneys knew it. This is the reality many families of promising pitching prospects live, a dangerous mindset that plagues all levels of the sport and contributed to Illinois becoming one of 44 states to impose pitch limits on high school hurlers.


“I’d motion to Matt with my fingers to my neck, like, ‘OK, cut it off now,’ and he would shake his head no,” recalled Tom, who accepted responsibility for not being more assertive. “On the way home from games like that, we’d get ice on his shoulder and arm. He’d be like, ‘Dad, I’m not coming out. If they want me to go, I’m going.’ I was like, ‘You’re going to hurt your arm.’ ”


Tom’s words proved prophetic in August 2015 when his worst fears were realized. At a summer-league game on the Illinois-Chicago campus, Matt struggled with command. The right-hander’s 85-mph fastball lacked its normal zip, suspicions confirmed by the ever-present radar gun that registered 78. At a tournament in Kentucky a week later, the wildness continued.

“My body felt I was throwing hard, but there just wasn’t any velocity,” Matt said. “It really dipped. Something was wrong.”

A recommendation landed Matt in the capable hands of Dr. Mark Cohen, a surgeon at Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush respected for his experience dealing with elbow problems. Cohen advised six months of rest, with the hope of avoiding surgery, but an MRI after the layoff confirmed the inevitable. If Matt ever wanted to pitch again, he would require Tommy John surgery — which replaces the elbow’s ulnar collateral ligament with a tendon harvested elsewhere in the body.

“My dad and I looked at each other and thought, ‘Oh, God’ …more devastation than anything,” said Matt, who underwent surgery May 10, 2016.

Lincoln Way-East pitcher Matt Blaney is recovering from Tommy John surgery.

“When I started 24 years ago, we’d see one or two (teenage Tommy John patients) a year, but now we’ll see four or five in a week every summer,” Cohen said.

The surgery has evolved into such a popular, proven alternative that Cohen knows of young pitchers who have sought the procedure to improve their performance. He chuckled at the recollection.


“The myths are incredible and, yes, we have parents and kids coming to essentially become bionic and see the surgery as almost a rite of passage,” Cohen said. “They all know one of three major-league pitchers has had Tommy John surgery, so it’s something they perceive as advantageous. Of course, it’s all false. You don’t throw harder after Tommy John surgery. You throw back to your potential.”


Matt Blaney’s pursuit of his own potential continued this week back at practice for Lincoln-Way East. A 5-foot-9 senior hoping for appointment to the Naval Academy, Blaney expects to slowly build back arm strength by pitching in relief by the end of the month before working his way back into the rotation.

“It will be long-awaited,” he said.

A 6-inch scar on his right elbow serves as a constant reminder for Blaney, the first to admit the ordeal strengthened more than his arm. He credits the mental toughness necessary for rehabilitation for making him a better student and a smarter pitcher who learned to throw to contact. He blames nobody but himself for piling up innings that eventually converted him from pitcher to patient.

“I don’t think I was overused; I was a competitor,” he said. “I wanted to stay in games. I always wanted to go the next inning. Coaches would let me keep pitching, but they were only doing what I asked to do.”

Hopefully, the new IHSA rule making emotion moot and limiting the number of pitches to 105 per game — with four days’ rest mandated after throwing the maximum — results in a trickle-down effect. Too much glory surrounds extreme examples such as Illinois State pitcher Brady Huffman throwing 167 pitches for Genoa-Kingston High in a 10-inning game last spring. The legend of Kerry Wood’s 175-pitch outing for Grand Prairie, Texas, in a 1995 high school regional always should be more instructive than entertaining.

“I’d like to see the rule applied to every level of youth baseball,” Lincoln-Way East coach Paul Babcock said of pitch limits. “Most high school coaches would agree.”

Not to mention surgeons.

“Nowadays, there’s such a premium placed on winning that you hope the people making these decisions respect the parameters,” Cohen said. “We need coaches, families and kids on board. Guidelines are only as good as the people who follow them.”

The IHSA implementing more to protect young arms represents a quality start.

dhaugh@chicagotribune.com