Throwing Injuries in Youth Baseball Players: Can a Prevention Program Help? A Randomized Controlled Trial

Jun Sakata, Emi Nakamura, Tatsuhiro Suzuki, Makoto Suzukawa, Masaki Akeda, Tetsuya Yamazaki, Todd S. Ellenbecker, Norikazu Hirose

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Abstract

Background: Throwing injuries of the shoulder and elbow are common among youth baseball players. Hypothesis: A prevention program will reduce the incidence of throwing injuries of the shoulder and elbow by 50% among youth baseball players. Study Design: Randomized controlled trial; Level of evidence, 1. Methods: The authors block randomized 16 youth baseball teams consisting of 237 players aged 9 to 11 years into an intervention group (8 teams, 117 players) and a control group (8 teams, 120 players). The intervention program consisted of 5 stretching, 2 dynamic mobility, and 2 balance training exercises performed during warm-up. Both groups were followed up for 12 months, during which the incidence of shoulder and elbow injuries was recorded. In addition, ball speed during pitching as a performance-related factor and variables of physical function (passive range of motion of the elbow, shoulder and hip, dynamic balance, and thoracic kyphosis angle) were assessed during the pre- and postintervention periods. Results: The incidence of shoulder and elbow injuries in the intervention group (1.7 per 1000 athlete-exposures) was significantly lower than that in the control group (3.1 per 1000 athlete-exposures) (hazard ratio, 1.940; 95% CI, 1.175-3.205; P =.010). The factors related to pitching performance, as assessed by ball speed, tended to increase in the intervention group as compared with the control group (P =.010). The program also improved shoulder horizontal adduction deficits on the dominant side, hip internal rotation on the nondominant side, and the thoracic kyphosis angle. Conclusion: A prevention program decreases throwing injuries of the shoulder and elbow and enhances the parameter of pitching performance in youth baseball players.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAmerican Journal of Sports Medicine
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Jan 1

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Keywords

  • injury prevention
  • randomized controlled trial
  • shoulder and elbow injury
  • youth baseball players

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation

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