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Int J Sports Phys Ther. 2012 Oct;7(5):548-57.

Shoulder range of motion, pitch count, and injuries among interscholastic female softball pitchers: a descriptive study.

Abstract

BACKGROUND/PURPOSE:

Injury rates for softball players are similar to baseball players yet information regarding risk factors, pitching, and physical characteristics for high school windmill softball pitchers is limited. This information is needed to guide prevention, training, and rehabilitation efforts. The purpose of this study was to report descriptive data regarding the physical characteristics and pitching volume experienced by high school softball pitchers during one academic season. A secondary aim was to track and describe upper extremity injuries suffered by high school softball pitchers throughout the course of the 2009 season.

METHODS:

Twelve uninjured female softball pitchers (13-18y) from 5 Greenville, South Carolina high schools participated. Prior to the 2009 season, the pitchers' shoulder internal, external, total arc of rotation and horizontal adduction PROM was measured. During the 10-week season, aggregate pitch counts (pitch volume) and occurrence of upper extremity injury were tracked for each pitcher.

RESULTS:

Mean preseason internal, external, and total arc of rotation PROM was observed to be similar between the pitchers' dominant and non-dominant shoulders. The PROM measures of horizontal abduction (HA) appear to demonstrate a side-to-side difference with less HA on the dominant arm of the pitchers who were examined. Subjects threw in an average of 10.1 games (±4.9) during the season. Six pitchers threw in 60% or more of the team's games and 3 of 12 pitchers pitched less than 25% of games. Pitchers averaged 61.8 pitches per game (±31.5) and 745.8 (±506.4) per season. Pitch count data did not appear to be different between injured and non-injured pitchers.

CONCLUSIONS:

Knowledge of pitch volume can be used to prepare windmill softball pitchers for the seasonal stresses, guide establishment of goals when recovering from injury, or assist in training for an upcoming season. Further research is needed to examine larger samples of pitchers over multiple seasons and years.

LEVEL OF EVIDENCE:

III.

KEYWORDS:

Pitch count; shoulder; softball

PMID:
23091788
PMCID:
PMC3474308
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