Youth baseball injuries in Somerville may be common these days, but there are many ways parents and coaches can help prevent them
No matter where you stand, history will always regard baseball as “America’s favorite pastime.” With this reputation in our culture, baseball has always been an extremely popular sport to both watch and play, especially for the younger population. One recent statistic estimated that 10 million children and adolescents play baseball—either organized or unorganized— in the U.S. each year. This shows that even though other sports may come and go in terms of popularity, baseball still seems to have enough of a draw to keep millions of kids interested in the game as time moves on.
Though the popularity of baseball may have not have changed much, its intensity has. In the recent past, the level of competition in the sport has increased dramatically, especially in Little League and other youth baseball leagues. As a result, injuries in this age group have become more abundant than ever. The main reason is that these young players—particularly pitchers—are throwing too hard, too frequently and/or too early in their development, and they often play all year round without enough rest. This combination of factors can lead to overuse injuries that may have serious consequences.
Due to the dynamics of throwing, the elbow and shoulder are the most typical locations for overuse injuries. Damage or tear to the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) in the elbow is often considered the most prevalent overuse injury, and like many other injuries, it results from pitchers throwing too much. Other common injuries in these areas include labral tears in the shoulder, rotator cuff injuries, shoulder instability, little league elbow, little league shoulder and other strains of muscles/tendons and sprains of ligaments.
Although most youth baseball injuries in Somerville are considered mild and will usually only sideline a player for a few days, some can be much more serious and prevent them from playing for the season, or longer. Another concern is that the younger players start to have trouble with their shoulder or elbow, the more likely they are to continue having problems in the future.
Though it’s practically impossible to prevent all injuries, there are several precautions coaches and parents can take to reduce the overall risk. Our physical therapists recommend the following tips to help prevent youth baseball injuries in Somerville:
Tips for preventing youth baseball injuries in Somerville
- Ensure coaches are adhering to the guidelines for maximum pitch count, rest periods and other recommendations
- Rotate playing other positions aside from pitching (especially for very young athletes) and don’t allow pitching on consecutive days
- Avoid pitching on multiple teams with overlapping seasons or pitching year-round; there should be ample time each year with no baseball at all
- Encourage proper warming up with stretching, running and easy throwing
- Emphasize control, accuracy and good mechanics
- Make sure young players are communicating clearly about any arm pain; if it does occur, don’t allow pitching through it, and if it persists, see a physical therapist
In addition to these tips, our therapists can actually create specific programs to improve strength and flexibility, which will ultimately help to further prevent youth baseball injuries in Somerville. If you’d like to learn more about one of these programs or treatment for baseball injuries in general, contact Arrow Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation located in Union, Woodbridge, Edison and Somerville, NJ by calling 908-393-9877 or click here to schedule an appointment today.