Orthopaedic Institute for Children Offers Tips for Avoiding Injuries in Youth Baseball

LOS ANGELES–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Spring means it’s time for baseball. As youth leagues across the country
are gearing up for another exciting baseball season, the physician
experts at Orthopaedic Institute for Children are advising parents and
coaches to be mindful of some basic safety guidelines that will keep
kids safe and in the game – from opening day through the end of the
season.

“Injuries have become increasingly common for youth baseball players,”
said Dr. Jennifer Beck, associate director of the Orthopaedic Institute
for Children’s Center of Sports Medicine in Los Angeles. “A lot of
attention has focused on safety for youth pitchers, who can easily
injure their growing arms by throwing the ball too hard, too often and
without proper rest. But the fact is any player at any position is at
risk for injury without proper safety precautions.”

Dr. Beck advises parents and coaches to work together to ensure that
players:

  • Don’t skip the warm-ups. Dr. Beck advises coaches to make sure
    their players are warming up properly, including stretching, jogging
    and light ball throwing. Preparing the muscles for more strenuous
    exercise can help prevent strains and sprains and can help improve
    performance. Pitchers, in particular, should learn to properly stretch
    their shoulders before throwing a single pitch.
  • Ease into throwing and swinging. It’s been a long off season.
    Players should not throw the ball too hard or take full swings right
    away. The first few practices should be about loosening up and
    reinforcing proper mechanics.
  • Drink enough fluids. Dehydration can make your muscles more
    susceptible to damage. Players should drink water before, during and
    after practice and games.
  • Never play through pain. Persistent pain should not be ignored.
    Left untreated, simple injuries can become complicated conditions.
    Particularly when it comes to the elbows and shoulders, it is never
    okay for youth ballplayers to play through the pain.

In addition, Dr. Beck encourages all coaches and parents to follow the
Pitch Smart campaign guidelines that are endorsed by Major League
Baseball and USA Baseball. The guidelines provide pitch count limits by
age group and encourage younger athletes to play other positions, not
just pitcher. “Injuries related to overuse can be prevented with this
type of common sense approach,” she says.

Players should be monitored for fatigue and should never play when they
feel sore. Rest, ice and ibuprofen can help reduce soreness and
inflammation, but if pain persists, parents should contact a physician.

“It is important to get good pediatric orthopaedic care if your child
suffers from a sports-related injury,” said Dr. Beck. “Failure to
address a sports injury properly can lead to lifelong problems.”

About Orthopaedic Institute for Children

Orthopaedic Institute for Children (OIC) was founded in 1911 as Los
Angeles Orthopaedic Hospital. Focused solely on musculoskeletal
conditions in children, Orthopaedic Institute for Children receives
60,000 patient visits each year. In alliance with UCLA Health and with
the support of the OIC Foundation, we advance pediatric orthopaedics
worldwide through outstanding patient care, medical education and
research. Our locations in Downtown Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Westwood
and Calexico treat the full spectrum of pediatric orthopaedic disorders
and injuries. For more information, visit us at ortho-institute.org.

Contacts

for Orthopaedic Institute for Children
Camille Strickland,
213-742-1501
CStrickland@mednet.ucla.edu