The Illinois High School Association (IHSA) Board of Directors voted recently to lower the pitch count a high school athlete in Illinois could throw per game.

Effective immediately, according to a media release from Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush (MOR), the pitch count drops from 115 to 105. For those throwing the maximum number of pitches, the player must rest for 4 days and only pitch up to 90 pitches in the next game. In addition, ambidextrous pitchers are counted per player, not per arm.

These changes were mandated as a result of the IHSA Board of Directors’ concern about the health of the young pitchers’ shoulders and elbows, in response to the rising number of shoulder and elbow injuries, and the number of “Tommy John” surgeries performed, among high school athletes.

“I applaud the IHSA for mandating pitch count monitoring at high school games to protect our high school athletes,” explains Nikhil Verma, MD, Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush sports medicine physician and head team physician for the Chicago White Sox, in the release.

“However, parents, players and coaches should realize that multiple factors – such as throwing velocity and pitching during practices, with pitching coaches and on travel teams – contribute to overuse. Since we are still researching the ‘correct’ number of safe pitches, I trust we will see continued engagement by the IHSA as further data becomes available.”

The Illinois Athletic Trainers Association and MOR physicians have created “Shoulders for Life,” an injury prevention program for overhead athletes. This program includes a downloadable brochure and access to complimentary bag tags with prevention tips, per the release.

[Source(s): Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush, PR Newswire]