This is for all my friends who are still playing, are coaches, know someone involved in baseball or most importantly have kids playing the game.
I played baseball for 20+ years, even had the privilege to play professionally and had a few arm injuries including elbow pain. Knowing what I know now, playing year round probably wasn’t the smartest idea for me and my maturation process. There is a real problem right now with baseball related arm injuries and more specific the elbow. Throwing a baseball is one of the most dangerous things you can do, especially at high volume, and high speeds.
Today, I listened to pieces of “2014: The Year of The Elbow” on MLB Network Radio. They had a panel of the best of the best. From top Orthopedic Dr. James Andrews, long time Dodger trainer and regarded as the best in the game Stan Conte, one of the best strength and conditioning coaches and the go to guy when it comes to baseball Eric Cressey, pitching coach Alan Jaeger long toss and arm care guru, Rick Peterson one of the top pitching coaches, top agent Scott Boras, among others I am forgetting.
The discussion was about why Tommy John surgeries in the MLB this year are at an all time high but also occurring at ages way to young.
There was a common theme that the injury happened over time. Not monitoring the kids throwing as they grow up from little league up through high school and college. The stress adds up.
Stan Conte said there are usually three main reasons Tommy John happens. The three reasons were chronic elbow issues from over use, high velocity, and sometimes but rarely it just pops.
Rick Peterson, also made some great points on pitching mechanics and how they can contribute to injury.
They all had different reasons but there was one cause that each pointed out, the overuse of the arm at the lower levels.
Here are the big takeaways:
- Put the ball down! Tommy John is an over use injury. If your throwing year round your arm never has a chance to recover. Playing on every club team is only hindering your growth.
- Going off number 1, this injury is starting at young ages. Throwing over and over, year after year your just building your chance for the injury.
- Building stability in the arm is very important, if you are constantly throwing your never giving your chance a self to regain that stability.
- Kids are growing, so their ligaments get weak. You have to take the ball out of their hand so they can build strength and stability. Since I started training younger athletes, I found out how important it is to make sure you build their stability cause their bodies are constantly changing.
It doesn’t matter what arm care program you are on, or how many external rotations you do, if your constantly throwing your only maintaining whatever strength and stability you have.
You are in control, don’t let some coach abuse your well being.
A great resource I use is http://www.ericcressey.com/baseball-content. Eric has written tons of great articles on this subject and other strength conditioning articles pertaining to baseball that you can check out.
I am sure I missed something, but I really wanted to relay this to the parents of kids who play baseball.