Kentucky doctors see rise in youth baseball pitching injuries


Special to The Times



LOUISVILLE – With the summer baseball season in full swing, local sports medicine specialists are seeing a spike in elbow and shoulder injuries in youth baseball players. According to new research by the American Sports Medicine Institute, overuse of these body parts is a main cause of these injuries.

“We are seeing so many of these young athletes in our office with orthopaedic injuries that I would call it an epidemic,” said Dr. Ryan Krupp, M.D., orthopaedic surgeon with Norton Sports Health Orthopaedic Care and director of Norton Healthcare’s sports health program. “Youth athletes are specializing in one particular sport at an earlier age, and when combined with little or no rest, a child’s growing joints can be over-stressed, leading to injuries.”

Dr. Krupp emphasizes the importance of parents and coaches monitoring and enforcing how many times a child pitches, how many days’ rest the child gets and that the child is counts while at the same time throwing age-appropriate pitches.

Dr. Krupp emphasizes the importance of parents and coaches monitoring and enforcing pitch counts while at the same time throwing age-appropriate pitches.

“Adequate rest between games and practices is essential, and it is imperative that these young athletes have a dedicated off season from their chosen sport,” says Dr. Krupp. “Even professional athletes have an off-season so that their bodies can rest.”

USA Baseball Medical & Safety Advisory Committee recommendations for youth baseball pitchers, parents and coaches regarding age-appropriate pitches, how long pitchers should rest between games or practices, and per-game pitch count recommendations are included in the charts below.

Age appropriate pitches

Fastball – 8 (+/-2)

Change-up – 10 (+/-3)

Curveball – 14 (+/-1)

Knuckleball – 15 (+/-)3

Slider – 16 (+/-2)

Forkball – 16 (+/-2)

Screwball – 17 (+/-2)

Days of rest between practice/games based on pitch count

Age 1 day 2 days 3 days 4 days

8-10 21-35 36-50 51-65 66+

11-12 21-35 36-50 51-65 66+

13-14 21-35 36-50 51-65 66+

15-16 31-45 46-60 61-75 76+

17-18 31-45 46-60 61-75 76+

Recommended maximum pitch counts

Age Pitch count per game

8-10 50-65

11-12 70-80

13-14 75-90

15-16 90-100

17-18 95-110

Special to The Times

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