Reduce Youth Throwing Injuries
As youth sports continue to become more and more competitive, physical therapists who treat children see an increase in the number of arm, shoulder, elbow and wrist injuries.
With the increased pressure to train and compete year round, children invariably spend more and more time perfecting their baseball and softball throwing skills. While major injuries from baseball and softball pale in comparison to those in football, lacrosse and basketball — they do occur and usually result from throwing and overuse of the arm.
With the proliferation of travel baseball, specialization seems to start earlier and earlier for young athletes — often resulting in the pressure to participate in competitive year round training. While this seems like the norm today, negative consequences result from overuse of joints and muscles during growth phases. Not allowing for periods of rest for particular muscles causes overuse injuries. Many nagging injuries and soreness in adults show up due to overuse at a younger age — at a time when bones, muscles and connective tissue remain in various stages of growth.
When your child feels tired, they should stop throwing. Injuries usually occur after fatigue sets in and a player continues to push themselves through soreness or pain. Stay healthy instead of proving perseverance. You can try to look for signs of fatigue, but the player knowing themself avoids the most . Help by having conversations about long-term effects of injuries and overstraining.
Ensure that your child throws well by teaching reputable techniques and practices early. Although no pitching limits exist in high school, doctors says there should be. Dr. James Andrews agrees: “I have heard of kids who throw 160 pitches in a game and that’s just not safe,” he recently told ESPN.com. Besides following pitch limits in organizations like Little League, teach your child how to throw correctly, avoiding overusing muscles. Talk to the coach or look up reputable sources to make sure you rely on proper technique.
Pay close attention to your athlete. Make sure to ask them their thoughts and how they’re feeling about their performance. Prevent injuries by maintaining a watchful eye and an inquisitive mind.