What do all pitchers, whether Little Leaguers or Major Leaguers, have in common? Arm pain and arm, shoulder or elbow injuries.
A study published on injury prevention in baseball found that up to 74 percent of youth baseball players, ages 8 to 18, report some degree of arm pain while pitching. And 23 report injury histories consistent with overuse. Major League pitchers, meanwhile, had a 34 percent higher injury rate compared to fielders.
Whatever your spring sport, injury prevention should be part of your year-round routine. Know your sport, know your body and know the risks.
“Now is when we’re looking at injuries and we’re trying to get [the athletes] back so they can actually enjoy their season,” says Stefanie Bourassa, the sports health program director at the Hartford HealthCare Bone & Joint Institute. “There are ways to prevent injuries. We utilize screens and tests that can identify movement patterns and body parts that may be at risk of an injury. Once we identify these patterns, we then can work with you on a strength and conditioning program and/or a mobility program to improve those movements.”
The Bone & Joint Institute’s Motion Lab evaluates an athlete’s specific muscle group using electromyography, or wireless EMG, to look at muscle contraction forces. And a 12-camera video capture and analysis system includes motion assessments for golf, running, baseball, cycling, volleyball, tennis, lacrosse and other activities.
“We actually know that the No. 1 indication of being at risk for an injury is a history of a previous injury,” says Bourassa. “And we also know that the inability to balance on a single limb for 30 seconds is also a strong correlation.”