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Too many pitches can lead to arm injuries for Little League, high school athletes

March 21, 2012

Staff Report

NEW YORK — According to a new study by Little League Baseball and the University of North Carolina, the most damaging practice to young arms could be the number of pitches thrown, not the type of pitch.

As noted in The New York Times Sunday, March 11, the study proves curveballs are not as dangerous for young pitchers as once thought. The study surveyed 1,300 pitchers, from 8-year-olds to college-level athletes.

Dr. James Gladstone, orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine expert at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City, said: “This is interesting because it goes against the grain of current thought, which is that curveballs are the most damaging to growing bodies. The number of pitches and the amount of breaks taken during the season should be decided by age level.”

It’s not necessarily about throwing curveballs, but throwing too many pitches, as the pitching motion is not a natural one.

Within the last 10 years, Dr. Gladstone and Dr. Alexis Colvin have seen an increase in youth injuries as a result of overworking the same muscles again and again. Many children play on several different teams during the baseball season, which can lead to strain.

The level of expertise among school nurses and trainers varies widely. Parents must learn to identify and treat common and potentially serious medical issues by insisting younger children take breaks between sports seasons.

From the March 21-27, 2012, issue

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