SportsEvents Magazine

OCT 2016

SportsEvents is edited for those who plan tournaments or other sports events.

Issue link: https://sportsevents.epubxp.com/i/744891

Contents of this Issue

Navigation

Page 7 of 59

www.sportseventsmagazine.com 2017 Baseball/Softball Sourcebook 8 ONE-on-ONE t "If one of your readers has a kid play- ing in multiple leagues — maybe a high school team and a travel team, or Little League baseball and another team — each league has its own rules. When you go from one league to another, it's like you're allowed to reset the odometer back to zero," Fleisig said. "That's fine for that league but not for that pitcher. It doesn't make sense to think he's starting this second league with no damage in his arm. He already has some mileage. "The thing about Pitch Smart is we are tying the limits to the pitcher, not league. If you have a game on Monday with this league and your other league plays on weekends, you shouldn't be able to circumvent the rules and have different pitch-count limits for your arm for each league. You are the same pitcher with the same arm. So we try to make it universal, across-the-board limits for the safety and success of the kid." Taking care of an athlete's body is critical for success on any level. The National Federation of State High School Sports Associations recently changed its rules governing high school pitchers to determine the amount of rest mandated based on the number of pitches thrown, not the number of innings pitched. Each state must set pitch count levels. "Pitch limit rules were not made just for the sake of making rules," Fleisig said. "They were not made to punish peo- ple. They were actually made to protect people. Every parent and kid and coach thinks that this pitcher is special; those rules are OK for other athletes, but this one is the star and we want him to pitch more. And sometimes a friend's child pitches on two teams, while your kid is on one team and you don't want him to fall behind; it's human nature to think that more is always better. We are trying to help people have guidelines based on science for when more is not better." Fleisig believes the epidemic of arm injuries came as year-round training became popular. "Why has there been an epidemic rise in the past twenty years?" Fleisig said. "It's not like we just invented the over-enthusiastic parent and the over-en- thusiastic kid. But what our society did invent, or apply, for this generation, was year-round baseball and these travel teams. "Decades ago there was high school baseball and Little League baseball but when the season was over, it was time to play soccer or basketball or football. There weren't many year-round organi- zations for baseball or other sports, like basketball, soccer, and gymnastics. Kids today at the youth level are specializing in one sport. That has definitely led to the increase in overuse injuries for baseball pitchers, as well as other sports. That's why we need the limits now that we didn't have before, because in the past the competition season would be over before you reached these limits that we are now imposing." Fleisig sees evidence to back that up showing that athletes should play a num- ber of sports and not specialize too early. "Most professionals did not start just as baseball pitchers. They played many sports and then developed into especially good pitchers," Fleisig said. "You should develop them as athletes to be fit and coordinated and not specialize so early where they essentially then do just one function. You need to have them be ath- letes and succeed." While it might seem that baseball and softball pitchers share the same concerns, it isn't exactly that black and white. "Softball is a different situation," Fleisig said. "We have done biomechan- ical research comparing the forces of overhand baseball pitching and windmill softball pitching. As it turns out, the shoulder forces are pretty similar for both sports given everything else — such as gender and age — is the same. The shoulder force is about the same on both. Elbow force is similar but the windmill pitch doesn't have the partic- ular force that loads the Tommy John ligament. Due to the throwing motion, you don't twist your arm back that way." Do female softball pitchers need to worry about pitch count? "Yes," Fleisig said. "While male baseball pitchers are having elbow and shoulder surgery, female softball pitchers are having other injuries that don't need surgery but do require time missed. They need to follow the same guideline: if you feel fatigue, call it a day. If you feel pain, seek medical attention." Fleisig points out that, armed with the proper knowledge about pitch counts, baseball and softball can be great sports for youth. "Here we are telling you watch out for this, watch out for that," Fleisig said. "But overall, baseball and softball are very safe sports. The one exception is baseball pitchers have a lot of surgery. If we can avoid those overuse injuries, then baseball and softball are safe sports and should be encouraged." n "Kids today at the youth level are specializ- ing in one sport. That has definitely led to the increase in overuse injuries for baseball pitch- ers, as well as other sports. That's why we need the limits now that we didn't have before, because in the past the competition season would be over before you reached these limits that we are now imposing." ''

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of SportsEvents Magazine - OCT 2016