*The following is excerpted from an online article posted on HealthDay.
Before you sign your young pitcher up to play baseball in multiple leagues, familiarize yourself with guidelines that can protect them against overuse injuries.
Sound obvious? A new survey shows it isn’t, because most parents have no idea what those guidelines are.
Players under age 18 are pitching more and more frequently, often for several teams year-round, which is prompting a rise in injuries. Some even require Tommy John surgery to repair torn UCLs (ulnar collateral ligament), an operation most people associate with major league players rather than youngsters. The UCL is a ligament that runs on the inner side of the elbow to help support it when performing certain motions, such as throwing.
“It’s really important that somebody is watching the players closely to make sure they aren’t pitching too much so we can minimize the risk of injury,” said senior study author Dr. Kevin Farmer, a University of Florida Health orthopedic surgeon who specializes in sports medicine.
Farmer and his colleagues surveyed nearly 100 parents and caregivers of youth baseball pitchers in North Central Florida and found that 83% did not know about safe pitching guidelines.
The lack of knowledge was found among parents/caregivers of players at all levels of experience, according to the paper published recently in the International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy.
Even among the respondents who were aware of safe pitching guidelines, many were unsure exactly what is in the guidelines.
The guidelines are available online, including on websites for the Little League, USA Baseball and even Major League Baseball, the researchers said.