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Am J Sports Med. 2002 Jul-Aug;30(4):463-8.

Effect of pitch type, pitch count, and pitching mechanics on risk of elbow and shoulder pain in youth baseball pitchers.

Author information

1
American Sports Medicine Institute, Birmingham, Alabama. American Baseball Foundation, Birmingham, Alabama 35205, USA.

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.

PMID:
12130397
DOI:
10.1177/03635465020300040201
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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