Tips for making youth sports a positive experience

Although baseball is typically considered a non-contact sport, there have been sporadic incidents of concussion or other head injuries reported in baseball players. This is why parents, athletes, and coaches must remember that concussions can be a problem even in sports where they occur less frequently.

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Baseball and Concussion Safety

“Because of foul tips, catchers, and actually umpires, are the most at risk for concussions on the baseball diamond,” says Micky Collins, PhD, clinical and executive director at the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program. “In our clinic, approximately 60 percent of our baseball concussion patients are catchers.”

Concussions may also occur in baseball when athletes:

  • Collide with teammates or opponent
  • Run into fences, walls, or backstops
  • Are hit by a ball or bat

“It’s those typical dings that might not seem like significant hits that can be problematic,” says Dr. Collins. “Catchers often report subtle dizziness or fogginess. They may experience a dip in batting performance because they’re having trouble seeing the ball. These can all be concussion symptoms.”

Other signs to look for in a potentially concussed athlete include:

  • Severe headache
  • Blurred vision
  • Sensitivity to light or noise
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Changes in mood

If a coach or parent suspects an athlete has suffered a concussion, remove him from play immediately. Only a medical professional trained in concussion can clear the athlete for return.

During this baseball season, athletes can reduce their risk for concussion by following these tips:

  • Avoid collisions at home plate
  • Wear properly fitted equipment like a catcher’s mask and batting helmet
  • Stay alert while on the bases
  • Practice protecting yourself from line drives, especially pitchers

“Once an injury occurs the brain is in an extremely vulnerable state and more susceptible to additional injury,” says Dr. Collins. “If you suspect a concussion, it’s best to sit it out and seek help from your coach or athletic trainer.”

 

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.