The snow may be flying outside, but the crack of the bat and pop of the glove can still be heard at indoor baseball training facilities, as players start preparing for the upcoming baseball season. Each year, nearly 300,000 young athletes are injured playing baseball. Learning more about these injuries and how to prevent them will help players avoid the disabled list.
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Common Youth Baseball Injuries
Baseball players most often injure their shoulders or elbows. Shoulder-related injuries range from tendonitis of the muscles that keep the joint (the rotator cuff) stable to cartilage tears within the joint itself.
Elbow problems include tendonitis of the muscles on top of or below the forearm and strains of the ligaments on the inside of the elbow.
Causes of Baseball Injuries
The most common causes of baseball-related injuries are:
- Inadequate rest periods
- Poor throwing mechanics
- Poor flexibility and range of motion
- Decreased rotator cuff or scapular (shoulder) strength
- Decreased wrist muscle strength and flexibility
- Decreased hamstring flexibility and strength
- Poor hip flexibility
- Poor core strength and stability
Preventing Baseball Injuries
To prevent injuries, youth baseball players should:
- Warm up properly before throwing.
- Take part in preseason and in-season strength and conditioning programs.
- Avoid year-round playing to give the body a chance to rest and recover. Playing different sports helps ensure that the same muscles aren’t used all the time.
It’s important for athletes to talk with parents and coaches instead of playing through any pain. Pain may be due to an underlying condition, and continuing to play could result in injury. If pain persists, or if a young athlete plays year round without much rest, a consultation with a sports medicine specialist is recommended.
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About Sports Medicine
Sports and physical activity bring with them a potential for injury. If you are looking to prevent, treat, or rehabilitate a sports injury – or improve athletic performance – UPMC Sports Medicine and the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program can help. We serve athletes and active people of all ages and experience levels. Our experts partner with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Pitt Panthers, and about 100 other high school, college, and regional teams and events throughout Pennsylvania – working daily to build better athletes.