(HealthDay News) — Young baseball players often feel pressure from parents or coaches to continue playing despite arm pain, and many parents are unaware of guidelines to reduce injury risk, a pair of recent studies found. The studies are scheduled for presentation March 24 at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, held from March 24–28 in Las Vegas.
In one study, Christopher Ahmad, MD, professor of orthopedic surgery at the Columbia University Medical Center in New York City, and colleagues surveyed 203 healthy players, aged 8–18. Just under one-quarter of them had experienced a prior overuse injury, they found. Almost half of the players – 46% – said they had been encouraged to continue playing with arm pain, and 30% said their arm pain sometimes made playing less fun. Those most likely to report being encouraged to play despite pain had a previous overuse injury. They were also more likely to report feeling arm pain while throwing and to experience arm fatigue during games or practice.
For the second study, researchers surveyed 60 parents of baseball pitchers, aged 9–18. They found just over half of parents were not aware of safe pitching guidelines and did not actively monitor their child’s pitch count. One in five parents did not know how many pitches their child threw in a typical game, but 64% recalled that their child had experienced pain in the upper extremities because of pitching, the survey found. For one-third of the pitchers, the pain required a medical evaluation.
Injuries to the growth plates usually heal with rest, Ahmad told HealthDay. But he noted that more young pitchers are also damaging their ulnar collateral ligament.