Author(s): Lyman S, Fleisig GS, Andrews JR, Osinski ED
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Abstract BACKGROUND: Joint pain is thought to be an early sign of injury to a pitcher. OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the association between pitch counts, pitch types, and pitching mechanics and shoulder and elbow pain in young pitchers. STUDY DESIGN: Prospective cohort study. METHODS: Four hundred and seventy-six young (ages 9 to 14 years) baseball pitchers were followed for one season. Data were collected from pre- and postseason questionnaires, injury and performance interviews after each game, pitch count logs, and video analysis of pitching mechanics. Generalized estimating equations and logistic regression analysis were used. RESULTS: Half of the subjects experienced elbow or shoulder pain during the season. The curveball was associated with a 52\% increased risk of shoulder pain and the slider was associated with an 86\% increased risk of elbow pain. There was a significant association between the number of pitches thrown in a game and during the season and the rate of elbow pain and shoulder pain. CONCLUSIONS: Pitchers in this age group should be cautioned about throwing breaking pitches (curveballs and sliders) because of the increased risk of elbow and shoulder pain. Limitations on pitches thrown in a game and in a season can also reduce the risk of pain. Further evaluation of pain and pitching mechanics is necessary.
This article was published in Am J Sports Med
and referenced in Journal of Sports Medicine & Doping Studies