Protecting Adolescent Pitchers
If you happen to know an adolescent pitcher who has the fortune of being taller or throwing harder than his peers, chances are that he is perceived as a valuable asset on the diamond. Often this attention and demand may lead to requests to play on multiple teams at the same time.
Unfortunately, these unique characteristics may also lead to an increased risk of shoulder and elbow injuries that could derail the promise of future enjoyment of baseball.
A video analysis of 420 adolescent baseball players along with review of pitching and injury histories found that for each 10-inch increase in a pitcher's height, 10 mile-per-hour increase in pitch velocity, or play for more than one team all significantly increased the risk of arm or shoulder injuries.
Does this mean that having a gun for an arm is a bad thing? Is being tall a negative in the injury world?
I think the reality is that anything that makes a young thrower stand out from peers leads to the temptation of overload and the resultant overuse arm and shoulder injuries.
If proper perspective and patience is exercised, then less chance for badness down the road. However, if combination of all those talents mean requests for more appearances on the mound, playing for more than one team, and thus less overall rest periods, then that is when the problems begin.
It is a natural to want to showcase talents, but for those who are blessed with certain gifts, ensuring appropriate rest during key developmental years can ward off those unwanted outcomes and lead to more enjoyment down the road.