How can overuse injuries in baseball be prevented?

Some tips to keep them in the game throughout their lives
Overuse injuries—especially those related to the UCL and shoulder—are preventable.

Some tips to keep you in the game throughout your life include:

• Warm up properly by stretching, running, and easy, gradual throwing.

• Rotate playing other positions besides pitcher.

• Concentrate on age-appropriate pitching.

• Adhere to pitch count guidelines, such as those established by Little League Baseball (see tables).

• Avoid pitching on multiple teams with overlapping seasons.

• Don’t pitch with elbow or shoulder pain; if the pain persists, see a doctor.

• Don’t pitch on consecutive days.

• Don’t play year-round.

• Never use a radar gun.

• Communicate regularly about how your arm is feeling and if there is pain.

• Develop skills that are age appropriate.

• Emphasize control, accuracy and good mechanics.

• Master the fastball first and the change-up second, before considering breaking pitches.

• Speak with a sports medicine professional or athletic trainer if you have any concerns about injuries or prevention strategies.

Maximum Pitch Counts

Age Pitches per game
7-8 50
9-10 75
11-12 85
13-16 95
17-18 105
(Source: Little League Baseball)

Rest Periods Required
Ages 7-16 Ages 17-18
Required # of rest pitches
61+ 76 and 3 days
41-60 51-75 and 2 days
21-40 26-50 and one day
1-20 1- 2 5 none
(Source: Little League Baseball)

Age Recommended for
Various Pitches
Pitch Age
Fastball 8+2
Slider 17+2
Change-up 10+3
Forkball 17+2
Curveball 14+2
Knuckleball 15+3
Screwball 17+2
(Source: From work by James
R. Andrews, MD, and Glenn S.
Fleisig, PhD)


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