Baseball players are turning to surgery to keep their pitching skills strong. The article below takes a look at this phenomena and how the “quick-fix” surgery is becoming more and more prominent.
Although youth baseball is as American as apple pie and July 4, in those innocent beginnings lies part of the reason for the rash of professional baseball injuries. For some, youth sports are no longer innocent and carefree. While previous generations of youth athletes played a sport for a three- to four-month season, single-sport year-round competition and training are becoming increasingly common for children and adolescents. The hope for many of these parents and children is that this will lead to college scholarships or spots on Olympic teams—despite the low odds that argue the contrary. Unfortunately, without an offseason or recovery period, year-round sports greatly increase the risk of burnout and overuse.
Experts blame this year-round format of competitive baseball, in which young players may play 70 to 80 games per year, for increasing the rate of injury. Research by Dr. Glenn Fleisig, also of ASMI, concluded that “adolescents who competitively pitch more than 85 pitches per game, more than eight months out of a year, or with arm fatigue are several times more likely to require elbow surgery.” Another study highlighted those players who pitched more than 100 innings in at least one calendar year as having about 3.5 times the chance of serious arm injury as those who pitched less.