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Game of the Week
Welcome to Stay in the Game, a monthly blog where the team from the Queen's Center for Sports Medicine shares the latest tips on the treatment and prevention of sports injuries. We want to help you play hard and be well - a winning combination that will keep you in the game all season long.
A popular sport among Hawaii's youth and adults alike, baseball is not without its share of common injuries. Dr. Elizabeth M. Ignacio, Surgical Director at The Queen's Center for Sports Medicine, discusses typical injuries developed among these athletes and best practices in injury prevention.
Question 1: What are some common injuries in baseball?
Elizabeth M. Ignacio, MD: Although baseball is a non-contact sport, most of the sport's serious injuries are due to contact — either with a ball, bat, or another player. The most common baseball injuries include mild soft tissue injuries, such as muscle pulls (strains), ligament injuries (sprains), cuts, and contusions (bruises). The repetitive body movements through practice and play can also cause overuse injuries, mostly to the shoulder and elbow.
Question 2: How can parents, coaches, and baseball players prevent these overuse injuries?
Elizabeth M. Ignacio, MD: Because many young athletes usually focus on one sport and train year-round, doctors are seeing an increase in overuse injuries. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons has partnered with the organization, STOP Sports Injuries, to help educate parents, coaches, and athletes on how to prevent overuse injuries. Specific tips to prevent these injuries in baseball include:
• Limit the number of baseball teams in which your child participates in one season. Kids who play on more than one team are especially at risk for overuse injuries.• Discourage your child from playing in one sport year round — taking regular breaks and playing other sports is essential to skill development and injury prevention.• Do not allow your child to pitch on consecutive days and avoid pitching on multiple teams with overlapping seasons.
Question 3: What is important when making an injury diagnosis?
Elizabeth M. Ignacio, MD: Good communication between doctors, players, parents, and coaches is key to diagnosing and treating more significant baseball injuries. Young players may not be able to recall exactly how an injury happened or describe their symptoms in detail. They may even hide injuries because of concern about being removed from play.
Coaches and parents must pay close attention to changes in a player's participation or performance. If an injury becomes apparent, doctors may need their help in providing accurate details and a medical history.
Question 4: If my child is recovering from an injury when should they return to play?
Elizabeth M. Ignacio, MD: The symptoms from an athlete's injury must be completely gone before returning to play. For example:
• In the case of a joint problem, the player must have no pain, no swelling, full range of motion, and normal strength capabilities.• In the case of concussion, the player must have no symptoms at rest, or with exercise, and should be cleared by the appropriate medical provider.• In the case of a shoulder or elbow overuse injury, the player should gradually return to a throwing program, increasing the number of throws depending on the length of time away from play, and their specific team position
Question 5: Is there a recommended pitching limit within a standard baseball game?
Elizabeth M. Ignacio, MD: The American Legion, Little League Baseball, and the Hawaii High School Athletic Association have established pitch count guidelines similar to USA Baseball guidelines.
Required Rest (Pitches)
Editors note: Below are the guidelines that the HHSAA will use for the state tournament and preseason games.
For comprehensive care in the treatment and prevention of baseball-related or other sport injuries, contact The Queen's Center for Sports Medicine for more information or schedule an appointment at 808-691-4449 or click the link below.
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Reproduced from OrthoInfo.org from the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. This information is provided as an educational service and is not intended to serve as medical advice. Anyone seeking specific orthopedic advice or assistance should consult his or her orthopedic physician.
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