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Articles of Interest

Articles of Interest


Young Pitchers at Risk for Serious Injury

Baseball experiences great popularity both for the enjoyment of participation and for the low risk of significant injury. Approximately nine million players between the ages of six to seventeen annually attest to the “love of the game”. Unfortunately over the past three decades the game has become of increasing importance, providing economic benefits and societal status to those with high levels of performance. As a result a youth recreational “game” is becoming increasingly “serious” and the primary goal of participation has become “success”. Baseball, as any sport, should promote fun, participation, skill development, maximal effort, a desire to win, an understanding of losing, teamwork, cooperation, determination, perseverance and social skills. Baseball must also give young athletes the chance to develop and maximize their skills to reach their highest level of achievement, but overzealous practices in pursuit of success can lead to serious overuse injuries. This has become most apparent in young pitchers who have sustained injuries previously only seen in adult players. These injuries are of the magnitude that can limit ultimate performance and end the ability to pitch.

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Guidelines to Prevent Injuries in Young Pitchers

by Henry A. Stiene, MD

Concerned parents and coaches often ask about what pitches are OK to throw, at what age they can safely be thrown, and how many pitches should be thrown in a game. The medical issues involved with pitching involve protecting the fragile growth plates, the cartilaginous lining of the bone, and the sometimes underdeveloped muscles in the young pitcher.

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