08 June 2016
In the article, Dr. Small states that about 10% of the patients he sees in April, May and June are typically baseball players with growth-plate injuries in their elbow or shoulder. Most are 10 to 12 years old.
To stem the tide of this ever-growing need for shoulder and elbow surgeries among teenage baseball players, a group of medical experts convened by the Major League Baseball Commissioner in 2014 has devised pitching guidelines, called Pitch Smart. These guidelines have been adopted by most national youth baseball programs, including Little League, which has had its own, similar guidelines in place since 2007, according to the WSJ article. The problem is that even though most teams abide by the pitching guidelines, many youth baseball players are playing on more than one team at a time.
How to avoid injury to shoulders and elbows due to over-pitching? Children shouldn’t have any pain or soreness in their shoulder or elbow during or after a game, Dr. Small tells the WSJ, and he advises against pitching and catching in the same game. He also recommends that pitchers play other positions and that children play different sports to develop other muscle groups.
Eric Small, MD is a nationally recognized expert in pediatric and adult sports medicine with more than 20 years’ experience with athletes. His practice focuses on sports injuries and concussion management, with the goal of return to play as quickly as possible. Dr. Small is a past chairman of the AAP Committee on Sports Medicine and Fitness and is active in creating national policy regarding children and sports.
Named “Sports Medicine Best Doctor” by New York Magazine and Westchester Magazine every year since 2007, Dr. Small lectures frequently at international, national and regional medical meetings on such topics as sports concussion, reflex sympathetic dystrophy, overuse injuries, stress fractures and tendinitis. He has written over 50 peer-reviewed journals and in 2002, he authored “Kids and Sports,” a highly-regarded sports parenting book focusing on all aspects of sports, exercise, nutrition and physical activity for kids.