MAR 05, 2016 5:46 PM PST

Preseason Programs Help Young Baseball Pitchers Avoid Injury

WRITTEN BY: Julianne Chiaet
young pitcherA new study found that young baseball pitchers could benefit from attending a preseason arm injury prevention program. 

If your child is a pitcher, there’s a good chance he or she has suffered a pitching-related injury. The study showed that young pitchers who attended a preseason injury prevention program were less likely to suffer an injury in the subsequent season. Previously injured pitchers in the training program were 4 times less likely to suffer an injury than previously injured pitchers in the general arm care program.

The research is the first to analyze a well-monitored preseason training program. The results were presented on March 5, 2016, and the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine's (AOSSM) Specialty Day. 

The study group included 143 pitchers; 88 participated in additional preseason training and 76 continued with normal training. Their median age was 15.7-years old. 

An athletic trainer supervised the preseason training program. The program focused on increasing posterior shoulder flexibility and strength. It included resistance training with dumbbell weights and elastic tubing. Each session was about 15-minutes, and the participant was required to attend three sessions per week for eight weeks. 

The researchers used two methods to measure the participants’ arm and shoulder flexibility and strength: standard manual muscle testing and a digital inclinometer (DI). The researchers recorded injuries throughout the season. 
 

"Pitchers participating in this targeted prevention program demonstrated reduced internal rotation (IR) and horizontal adduction (HA) deficits," said study author Charles A. Thigpen, a clinical research scientist from ATI Physical Therapy in Greenville, South Carolina. "Improvements in these performance areas are important, as similar deficits have been linked to arm injuries in previous research.”

The participants’ in the preseason training group showed improved arm flexibility and strength. Such improvement cut the risk of injury down.

“If we can encourage parents, coaches, and youth baseball organizations across the country to adopt similar programs, athletes may have a better chance [of] reducing time off the field because of injury,” Thigpen said. 

The study has not yet been published in a peer-reviewed journal. Further studies with follow-up will be needed to confirm the benefits of the programs. 

Source: Program abstract from American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine's (AOSSM) Specialty Day, American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine press release via EurekAlert! 
 
About the Author
  • Julianne (@JuliChiaet) covers health and medicine for LabRoots. Her work has been published in The Daily Beast, Scientific American, and MailOnline. While primarily a science journalist, she has also covered culture and Japanese organized crime. She is the New York Board Representative for the Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA). • To read more of her writing, or to send her a message, go to Jchiaet.com
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