Royal Oak, MI - After three years of research, a multicenter, national research study led by Beaumont orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist, Joseph Guettler, M.D., may have some answers as to why youth baseball pitching injuries continue to rise despite the implementation of nationally recommended pitching limits. In fact, serious pitching injuries requiring surgery have skyrocketed with one estimate reporting serious throwing injuries are occurring 16 times more often today than just 30 years ago.
"Our research team and colleagues from around the country, saw several recurring themes," says Dr. Guettler. "It became very clear that dangerous pitching behavior is occurring among pitchers as young as little league all the way through their high school years. And, the blame doesn’t usually lie with the leagues or coaches. Most were found to be adhering to nationally recognized guidelines for pitch limits and rest. It seems much of the blame lies with behavior of parents and their kids."
Some of the findings concluded that contrary to national guidelines limiting pitches thrown, 13.3 percent of pitchers pitched competitively for more than 8 months of the year, 40 percent pitched in a league without pitch counts or limits, 56.6 percent pitched on back-to-back days, and 19 percent pitched more than one game in the same day. Nearly one-third of these pitchers pitched for more than one team during the same season; one-third played only baseball and 10 percent also played catcher on the same team, another high-volume throwing position.
“The most prevalent reasons for arm pain and tiredness can be boiled down to five major issues,” Guettler adds. “The following behaviors can lead to arm pain and tiredness which can then lead to the most significant shoulder and elbow injuries.”