By: Sara Sultanik / Good Medicine
April 8, 2010
Syracuse N.Y -- April showers may bring May flowers, but they have also brought the beginning of little league season here in Syracuse.
But while kids and parents dust off those gloves and bats, coaches and medical professionals want them to know about the risks associated with playing baseball at a young age.
In March, the University of Tokushima in Japan released a study which concluded that youth baseball injuries were on the rise. Especially for kids between the ages of eight and twelve.
According to the study, twenty-five percent of youth baseball players between the ages of eight and twelve had elbow pain.
And most of these injuries happen to throwers: “[I]t’s because they’re starting playing at a younger age,” said Dr. Marc Pietropaoli, a Skaneateles based sports medicine orthopedic surgeon, “They’re playing year round...and there are less and less athletes that are specializing in one sport they’re specializing a little too early.”
Pietropaoli discussed that the more sports a child plays, the less likely they are to develop injuries because a child will be using more muscles when playing multiple sports.
And since a child’s bones have not fully grown yet, they are more susceptible to soreness and pain.
How to Prevent These Injuries
Dr. Pietropaoli said good coaching was an effective way to reduce the chance of developing injuries.
And at Perfect Practice indoor baseball facility, they have tried to do just that: “We want to make sure whatever technique it is whether it’s running or throwing, hitting...that they learn properly,” claimed owner of Perfect Practice Mike DiPaulo, “We’re going to make sure that they understand that technique is very important in injury prevention.”
At Perfect Practice many kids come out each day to learn the correct baseball technique and throwing mechanics to make sure they don’t end up on the bench this baseball season instead of out on the field.
The Risk Won’t Keep Them Away
At Perfect Practice, the kids learned to warm up and stretch out their muscles so they won’t get sore.
And because of this training, some of the young boys did not seem to worry about the risk of injury: “You could get hurt walking down the street you could get hurt playing soccer you could get hurt doing pretty much anything but you cant live your life that way,” stated thirteen year old Jonah Badiab.
And seventh grader John Teixiera believed he knew how to take of himself: “if you stretch properly and stay prepared and stay loose you’re not going to get hurt as easily. A loose body is much more durable than a tense body,” he said.
And Dr. Pietropaoli stated that parents should not worry because overall, baseball is a very safe game. But everyone involved should just be educated about the risks.