Baseball fields across the country are filling up this week as the official start of the 2018 Little League season gets underway.
As eager as the kiddos are – and parents – to get swinging and logging wins, it’s important to remember that fun and safety should always reign supreme in youth sports.
We start seeing lots of younger patients here at Texas Orthopedics suffering from baseball, or softball, injuries around this time of year.
The Little League organization, as well as Major League Baseball, has developed guidelines to help coaches and parents keep kids safe and injury-free while playing–and especially pitching, where overuse injuries to the arm, shoulder, and elbow (sometimes referred to as a Tommy John injury) are rampant. Other common injuries include muscle strains, sprains, ACL tears, and tendonitis.
Here are some great reminders:
1. Limit hours of baseball play (practice, games, and free play at home) each week to the number of your child’s age or less.
2. Encourage activities, or play, outside of baseball that develop core and back strength (such as yoga and swimming). A strong core helps protect and support the back through all the twisting motions required for hitting and pitching.
3. Watch for signs of fatigue during practice, especially when throwing or pitching, and have them take breaks as needed.
4. Follow, and do not exceed, the Little League Pitch Count guidelines which are:
13-16 years: 95 pitches per day
11-12 years: 85 pitches per day
9-10 years: 75 pitches per day
7-8 years: 50 pitches per day
5. Avoid having your child pitch, or play an equally throwing-intensive position such as catcher, two days in a row.
6. Never allow your child to pitch, swing a bat, or play when in pain.
If you have questions or concerns about a baseball overuse injury, please contact us for an appointment.
Texas Orthopedics wishes all of the young sluggers out there a safe and successful season!
(Adapted from The Washington Post)