Chances are you know someone who has played or is playing baseball or softball right now. According to the American Association of Pediatrics, 8.6 million children ages 6 to 17 participate in either sport.
And while the AAP says it’s among the safest sports for kids, it is also a sport where the most traumatic and overused injuries occur. For example, more stress is put on a pitchers arm than any other sport. Because of the potential damage, a rule was established to make sure a pitcher has a rest period to avoid catastrophic injuries. There is also a high frequency of shoulder and elbow injuries associated with overuse.
So this year, the American Association of Pediatrics released these recommendations to parents, coaches and pediatricians to encourage the safety of young baseball and softball players.
Here is just part of the list:
–Preventive measures should be used to protect young baseball pitchers from throwing injuries. Adequate core strength and scapular muscle strength provide a critical foundation; proper instruction in throwing mechanics, conditioning, and training is another essential component.
–Delay introduction of the curve ball until after age 14 and the slider until age 16.
–Three key elements in preventing overuse injuries in pitchers include: (a) age guidelines regarding the number of pitches thrown daily; (b) rest requirements between pitching assignments; and (c) season and yearly total pitch limits.
–Young pitchers should avoid pitching on multiple teams with overlapping seasons; the guidelines for rest requirements must be enforced across all teams. Youth pitchers should not pitch competitively in more than 8 months in any 12-month period; 3 months of rest from pitching are recommended each year. A pitcher should also not be a catcher for his or her team.
–Parents, coaches, and players should be educated about the early warning signs of elbow and shoulder overuse injuries as well as the importance of parascapular muscle strength. Athletes should cease pitching immediately when signs of arm fatigue or pain occur; they should be encouraged to seek timely and appropriate treatment of significant or persistent pain.
If you want to read more about the AAP’s findings on baseball and softball for kids, go to the AAP website. Here’s a link to the article!