In response to a rising epidemic of shoulder and elbow injuries among high school pitchers, sports medicine physicians at Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush (MOR) are calling for all states to regulate pitch counts.
So far, only eight states (Minnesota, Colorado, Alabama, Arizona, Kentucky, Wisconsin, Vermont, and Oklahoma) have pitch count regulations among their high school pitchers.
The call for action from MOR physicians, as well as athletic trainers and pitching experts, aims to have pitch count regulations in all 50 states.
“Elbow and shoulder injuries in throwing athletes have increased because young elite pitchers are throwing faster and harder in hopes of playing college ball and making the pros,” states Greg Nicholson, MD, MOR sports medicine physician, in a media release from Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush.
“That’s why high school associations throughout the country need to take action and regulate pitch count,” he adds.
Studies conducted by physicians at MOR, who are also team doctors for the Chicago White Sox, suggest that high school pitchers are throwing too much without proper recovery time. Another study conducted by MOR physicians suggest that improper core and leg strength may be a key component of fatigue and injury in pitchers, per the release from MOR.
A notable study, per the release, suggests that teenage athletes compose the fastest-growing segment of patients undergoing Tommy John surgery.
“Ten years ago, Tommy John surgery was considered a treatment option used primarily for Major League Baseball (MLB) players,” states MOR physician Anthony A. Romeo, MD, in the release.
“Today, more than half of all Tommy John surgeries are for patients between ages 15 and 19. That’s because young athletes are throwing harder, faster, and perhaps most importantly, playing year round,” he adds.
In response to the studies, MOR physicians believe that pitchers should play more than one sport, rest between seasons, and perform appropriate warm-ups and strength training.
To help educate coaches, parents, and high school association members about the need for pitch count regulations, MOR physicians, as well as members of the Illinois Athletic Trainers Association and the National Pitching Association, are participating in Shoulders for Life. This program encourages the regulation of pitch count and more rest time and cross training for throwing athletes.
[Source(s): Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush, PR Newswire]