Overworking young baseball pitchers leads to injury: study

February 3, 2011

Chicago – Sending a baseball pitcher to the mound too often can significantly increase the athlete’s risk of suffering an injury, according to a study released Feb. 1 by the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine.

The study followed 481 pitchers ages 9-14 for 10 years. Participants were annually surveyed on whether they played baseball the previous year and how many innings they pitched. They also were questioned about any elbow or shoulder injuries.

Results indicated players who pitched more than 100 innings in a single year were 3.5 times more likely to suffer an injury. Over the course of the study, 5 percent of boys suffered injuries serious enough to require surgery or retirement.

“The study proved a direct link between innings pitched in youth and adolescent baseball and serious pitching injuries,” lead author Glenn S. Fleisig said. “It highlights the need for parents and coaches to monitor the amount of pitching for the long-term success and health of these young athletes.”

The study was published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine (Vol. 39, No. 2).