Every Pitch Should Count

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Pitching Crop” by slgckgc is licensed under CC BY 2.0Jason L. Zaremski, MD, CAQSM, FACSM, FAAPMR

Assistant Professor│Divisions of PM&R, Sports Medicine, & Research
Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation
Co-Medical Director Adolescent & High School Outreach Program
University of Florida College of Medicine

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Throwing injuries are common in baseball and can be caused by excessive pitch counts, year-round pitching, and pitching with arm pain and fatigue. Despite the evidence, pitching injuries among high school players have not decreased. With a multitude of research in overhead throwers, yet the volume of overuse throwing injuries not decreasing, our team suspected there was a missing workload factor in baseball pitchers. Therefore, our team conducted research to determine whether an important factor was being overlooked: volume of pitches thrown during warm-up between innings and bullpen activity in high school varsity baseball pitchers.

In the study, our team counted all pitches thrown off a mound during varsity high school baseball games played by 34 different high schools in North Central Florida during the 2017 season. After counting nearly 14,000 pitches in 115 pitch outings, our team found that 42% of the pitches thrown off a mound were not accounted for in the pitch counts, and that there is a large variability of bullpen pitches being thrown from pitcher to pitcher. Even with a greater focus on pitch counts as a way to prevent injuries, a substantial number of pitches are going unaccounted for in high school players as part of warm-up and bullpen activity.

MedicalResearch.com: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Response: Our findings suggest that close monitoring of all pitches thrown off a mound should be included for accurate documentation volume workload in high school baseball pitchers.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: Our results re-enforce the importance of a pre-season throwing program to prepare the throwing arm for the rigors of the upcoming season ahead, but also continued close monitoring of pitch counts during the season is important to limit possible cumulative overuse throwing injuries.  

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Citation:

For high school baseball pitchers, extra throws on game day add up but go uncounted

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions. 

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