Elbow Injuries In Young Baseball Players

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It is a common belief in Major-League baseball that a pitch limit for a starting pitcher is needed to reduce chances of injury. The idea of a pitch limit was first recommended by James Andrews, perhaps the most credible expert on Tommy John surgery. “James Andrews, the renowned orthopedic surgeon, suggested 100 -- a ballpark figure -- in a 1999 study titled "Elbow Injuries in Young Baseball Players" with James Whiteside. Even 17 years later, this study is still frequently cited” (FoxSports.com, 2016). Dr. Andrews did this for a variety of reasons. For one, it limits stress on the arm. In 2004, Baseball Prospectus came out with a formula they had used to measure “Pitcher Abuse Points”, or the amount of stress that is put on a pitcher’s arm…show more content…
“…from research presented July 12 at the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine’s annual meeting: 15-to-19-year-olds made up 56.7 percent of all Tommy John surgeries performed in the United States between 2007-11. The study said that rate is going up an average of 9.1 percent per year” (Forbes.com, 2015). The answer can be traced back to the over-use in young arms. Perhaps the most common risk factor is in young players who play year-round. “Kids are specializing as baseball players—specifically as pitchers—as early as 11 years old. Those pitchers then play baseball year-round, denying their arms the chance to rest and recover during the typical winter offseason” (dukechronicle.com, 2015). In contrast, it was very rare for an athlete to play baseball year-long during his youth years before the 2000s. This was because of the vast majority of the kids who played multiple sports. Now, if you want to succeed and go on to the next level, you can’t do that. You need to stay with that one sport you choose if you want to keep playing at a high level. So, as the demand grows for year-round play, kids are not allowing themselves with much-needed rest. In reality, at least four months throughout the year is needed for your arms to get back to full strength. A recent study from Rush University has shown that the location of youth players has an effect on likelihood of Tommy John. “…and performed far more often in the South than in any other region of the United States, echoing earlier research at Rush that showed that Major League Baseball players who grew up in the South are more likely to have Tommy John surgery as well” (Rush.edu, 2013). The research performed at Rush University suggests that due to the weather in the Southern portion of the United States, players are more likely to play

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