Arm injuries at the major league level are occurring at an alarming rate. Here’s what Dr. James Andrews said about the rise in Tommy John surgeries, via his research foundation:
“… in many cases, the injury leading to Tommy John surgery in today’s young pro pitchers actually began while they were adolescent amateurs. Observations by orthopaedic surgeons support this link, as the torn ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) in a pro pitcher usually looks like it has worn out over time… Research has shown that the amount of competitive pitching and pitching while fatigued are strongly linked to injury. Other risk factors may include pitching on multiple teams, pitching year-round, playing catcher when not pitching, poor pitching mechanics, and poor physical conditioning… To become a successful adult pitcher, the youth should not strive to be a ‘youth pitcher’ but instead should be a young athlete that is a good pitcher.”
Source: Position Statement for Tommy John Injuries in Baseball Pitchers, American Sports Medicine Institue. Available online at http://www.asmi.org/research.php?page=research§ion=TJpositionstatement
What do you think are the main contributing factors to this epidemic?
“Tournament-style, year-round baseball.” Jeff Gierisch, submitted via Facebook
“Single sport high school athletes.” Scott Gardner, submitted via Facebook
“Some are just going to end up with it, although the majority are probably not doing a very good job with arm care/maintenance.” Joshua-Shane Harris, submitted via Facebook
“Not enough physical activity on a daily basis. Xbox, A/C, then ball game!” Tre’ Brown, submitted via Facebook
“Velocity at young ages. Body doesn’t have time to mature.” Matthew Torrez (@matorrez13) submitted via Twitter
“Timing at foot plant. That’s it.” Garrett Bauer (@gbauer25) submitted via Twitter
“I don’t think it’s just a pitch count issue with younger players. I think it’s the fact that most of them are playing other positions in addition to their pitching duties. Unlike professional (and for the most part, college) baseball, many youth players are asked to pitch a game one day and then play a position the next three days! I think that takes it toll as these players get older.” David Carpenter, submitted via e-mail
“It’s velocity! The human body just isn’t built to withstand 95+ mph pitching deliveries.” Kyle Robinson, submitted via e-mail
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