Preventing Pitching Injuries

It's springtime, and for many kids, that means one thing: time to hit the baseball diamond. Baseball and softball aren't traditionally considered dangerous sports, but many orthopedic surgeons disagree. Today, we hear from a doctor in Royal Oak on how injuries are going up, while the age of the athletes needing surgery is going down. Joseph Guettler from Beaumont Hospital says the number of kids in his practice having elbow reconstruction — or Tommy John surgeries — is nearly 16-times higher today compared to the mid-nineties. Researchers from Rush University Medical Center are using high-speed cameras and equipment to study an athlete's arm motion — hoping to develop safer pitching strategies. For adolescents: doctors say limit play to six to eight months a year. No more than 80 to 100 pitches a game. Get four to five days rest between games. No curve balls before age 14. They put added strain on the elbow. And contrary to popular belief, softball “windmill” pitching puts twice the stress on the bicep as overhand pitching. The American Orthopedic Society for sports medicine recently launched a nationwide study on baseball pitching injuries in kids. Its goal is to study the impact of the injuries on a child's growth plates and look for ways to predict the problems before they happen.