Youth Baseball Safety (continued)
07-23-2015 / By:
Pitching, particularly for adolescent arms that are still growing, puts an enormous amount of strain on joints and tendons. Injuries to wrists, elbows, rotator cuffs, ligaments, and tendons can result from excessive pitching but can be largely avoided if players and coaches follow a few simple guidelines:
- Make sure pitchers adhere to league rules regarding the maximum number of innings they're allowed to throw. This will generally range from four to 10 innings per week. If a kid plays for more than one team, include all innings pitched each week, not just the ones for each team.
- Most leagues follow rules regarding the number of pitches kids can throw in a game. Keep in mind that even major league pitchers have strict pitch counts to keep their arms healthy. Here are the pitch count limits recommended by U.S.A. Little League and the American Sports Medicine Institute:
- 7-8 years old: 50 pitches a day or 75 pitches a week
- 9-10 years old: 75 pitches a day or 100 pitches a week
- 11-12 years old: 85 pitches a day or 115 pitches a week
- 13-16 years old: 95 pitches a day
- 17-18 years old: 105 pitches a day
- Pitchers under 14 should limit total pitches to less than 1,000 per season and 3,000 per year.
- All players should take at least 3 months off per year from overhead sports (i.e., sports that involve a lot of overhead arm movements like baseball or volleyball).
- If pitchers feel persistent pain in their throwing arm, they should not be allowed to pitch again until the pain goes away.
A Few Other Reminders
- Make sure a responsible adult is on hand any time a baseball game is played, whether it's a parent, coach, or umpire. In the event someone gets seriously hurt, an adult should be around to take an injured player to the emergency room.
- Make sure first aid is readily available.
- Steroids or human growth hormones aren't just illegal — they're dangerous.