-- Robert Preidt
MONDAY, Feb. 27 (HealthDay News) -- With winter turning to
spring, youth baseball will soon be starting.
Experts are warning, however, that young ball players are at
risk for injuries, many of which are preventable.
"Baseball is America's pastime. In order to minimize the risk of injury and maximize enjoyment of the game, coaches, parents and youth baseball and softball players should be familiar with 'an ounce of prevention' guidelines," statement co-author Dr. Joseph Congeni said in a news release from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
The AAP has issued a revised policy statement on youth baseball
and softball, published online Feb. 27 in
According to Congeni, "being aware of a few issues regarding
overuse, appropriate equipment, environmental factors and those
rare but catastrophic injuries can help accomplish these goals and
ensure kids are having fun and staying healthy playing ball."
Throwing injuries are a major issue for young baseball players
but can be prevented by teaching about proper throwing mechanics,
training and conditioning, and encouraging players to stop playing
and seek treatment whenever they experience signs of overuse
injuries, the statement advises.
"Not everyone may know exactly when an athlete begins to show signs of overuse, but it is important to know to never pitch when one's arm is tired or sore. Athletes must respect the limits imposed on throwing, including pitch counts and rest periods," statement co-author Dr. Stephen Rice said in the AAP news release.
Among the other recommendations:
Another expert stressed that kids who engage in sports have
"In order to better appreciate overuse injuries in children, one must understand that kids are not just 'small' adults," explained Dr. Victor Khabie, chief of sports medicine at Northern Westchester Hospital in Mount Kisco, N.Y. "There is a significant physiological difference between a growing child and a developmentally mature person," he added.
According to Khabie, who is also co-director of the hospital's
Orthopedic and Spine Institute, "children grow via growth plates
which are 'growth centers' at the end of bones. When a child
complains of elbow or shoulder pain because of excessive pitching
or batting, the [cause] is often due to an injury to the growth
The consequences could be serious, he added. "Left untreated, an
injured growth plate could lead to permanent damage," Khabie said.
"This is why it is important for parents, coaches and trainers
working with young ball players to understand the signs and
symptoms of overuse baseball and softball injuries and to have the
child athlete be evaluated by a sports medicine specialist."
The Nemours Foundation has more about
youth baseball safety.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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