PITCH SMART RECOMMENDATIONS FOR YOUTH BASEBALL

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

Key Points:

  • 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 Grant Lewisresource 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:

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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 neededSideLineSportsDoc 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.

News on the Willy Garcia Collision with Yoan Moncada; Why Store My Stem Cells?; Join us at The Chicago Sports Summit

Episode 17.18 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 (01:30): Dr. Nik Verma from Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush and Head Team Physician for the Chicago White Sox, talks about the recent Willy Garcia Collision with Yoan Moncada; how the medical team deals with multiple player injuries; the new White Sox-MLB concussion protocol; the diagnosis, treatment and recovery of the injuries.

White Sox rookies Yoan Moncada and Willy Garcia left the game after colliding inshallow right field. Moncada’s knee struck Garcia in the side of the head and both players were injured. Garcia was able to leave the field under his own power but Moncada needed to be taken off on a cart.


Segment Two (12:26): Dr. Cole and Steve ClausnitzerCEO of Forever Labs talk about the important reasons and process for preserving your stem cell for later use in life and the ongoing research on cell biology by Dr. Cole and others at Rush University Medical Center.

Why Store My Stem Cells? The number and therapeutic quality of our stem cells diminishes with age. Storing your stem cells today preserves them for future therapies that combat age-related disease, and perhaps aging itself.


Segment Three (25:45): Dr. Cole announces the 2nd Annual Chicago Sports Summit, a half-day event featuring some of Chicago’s heaviest hitters. Participants will speak about how sports and after school activities empower youth to engage in positive behavior to help reduce Chicago’s violence.

Executives will also discuss how they use sports marketing and celebrities to grow their business. Attendees will learn about new developments in sports science and how these advances impact an athlete’s endurance, performance and injury prevention.

October 4th, 2017 - 8AM to Noon Hyatt Regency Hotel, 151 East Upper Wacker Drive, Chicago IL

Join Us For The Greatest Sports Event of the Year! Click here to Register.

New Knee Procedure Eases Arthritis Pain Without Surgery; Getting a Second Opinion; Video Throwing Analysis

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.

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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 forSandeep D. Amin, MD practices Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine in Chicago and Oak Park 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 theVideo Throwing Analysis 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.

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.