Play Ball! Play Smart!

How to prevent injuries during baseball season

The baseball season is upon us! As little league and high school players across the country get ready to take the field, it is worthwhile to note some important points about preventing baseball injuries.

Approximately 45% of little league and high school baseball players experience arm pain during the season. Since 2000, shoulder and elbow injuries in little league baseball players have increased by 500%. The majority of these injuries are categorized as overuse and are preventable.  Here are some simple steps to avoid baseball injuries:

  1. Kids should not be trained like adult athletes

The bodies of children are undergoing lots of physical and mental developmental changes. Coaches and parents should be aware that all kids may not be able to tolerate a standard conditioning program. In order to keep kids safe and injury-free, some modification may be required to accommodate kids who are not as well-developed as other kids of the same age.

  1. Avoid overuse by getting adequate rest.

Many kids play on multiple teams and play year-round without taking a break, which frequently results in fatigue. Without adequate rest the body will fatigue placing the athlete at higher risk for injury. For example, muscle fatigue results in the breakdown of proper form, which places abnormal stress on joints and leads to injury. Make time for adequate rest every week and between seasons.

  1. Technique

Proper technique is relevant to weight-lifting as well as throwing and batting mechanics. Poor technique results in too much stress on joints like the elbow and shoulder. Players should work with their coaches to ensure proper technique before and throughout the season.

  1. Conditioning

Core (lower abdominal, back, and hip) strength is essential to baseball players. Attention should be given to making core exercises part of every baseball player’s conditioning program. Baseball players should also incorporate a Thrower’s Ten Program in order to properly condition the muscles around their shoulder and elbow.

Injuries in a young athlete can not only result in loss of playing time during the current season, but also limit long-term participation in athletic activity. Players should be encouraged to report any pain and to stop playing until it resolves and they have addressed the points noted above. Visiting a sports medicine specialists is advised to receive appropriate treatment for injuries. Learn more about proper health and fitness for baseball players using the following resources:

  1. Baseball Injuries – Sports Tips

  1. Pitch Smart – Major League Baseball

  1. Thrower’s Ten Program

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