Wednesday, September 22, 2010

What's Causing the Arm Injuries?

This guy on the left is not the only one having significant arm trouble these days. He's just the most prominent. Stephen Strasburg of the Washington Nationals was the #1 overall pick in the 2009 MLB Draft. His college and pro coaches were careful with him because he was widely considered to be the best pitching prospect in years, if not decades. But apparently it was too late. Perhaps the damage was done before he even got to college.

Strasburg is one of many elite pitchers having to undergo surgery and take months off these days due to UCL or shoulder injuries. But the trend is not limited to the best in the world. Youth pitchers are blowing out their arms at a high rate too. But why? Is it flawed mechanics? Curveballs? High pitch counts? According to the doctors and the studies, there are several factors.

Gregg Doyel of CBS Sports blames it on youth coaches and parents. His article from August 26, 2010 may be on to something. Doyel is no expert when it comes to arm care, but he can connect the dots based on what the experts say. Among the primary experts are Dr. James Andrews and Dr. Glenn Fleisig of the American Sports Medicine Institute (ASMI), among other credits.

ASMI conducted a study with some important conclusions - mainly that while arm injuries often do not rear their ugly heads until high school or college (or later), they can begin in youth leagues. How do they begin in youth leagues? Overuse at a young age. Not a new term - that's why we have pitch counts. The study says that arm fatigue is the primary factor involved: "When regularly pitching despite arm fatigue, the risk for injury requiring surgery increased 3600%." That's almost a guarantee.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Statement from Little League Regarding Composite Bats

Parents and coaches might want to hold off on buying their next composite baseball bat. In a September 1, 2010 statement from Little League headquarters in Williamsport, PA, the organization has announced an immediate moratorium on the use of composite bats at the Junior, Senior and Big League levels.

Composite bats are widely considered to be the most technologically advanced sticks on the market. Their barrels have an interior woven composite of metal fibers, which provides three distinct advantages over aluminum bats: lighter barrels, less vibration, and greater energy. That's why people say the ball seems to "jump" off a nicely broken-in composite bat.

The National Federation of High School Associations placed a temporary ban on composites in July, and now Little League has followed suit. But the Little League moratorium only applies to the Junior, Senior and Big League divisions. Myers Park Trinity is associated with Babe Ruth in those age groups and is therefore not affected by this ruling. It does not apply to the Little League 12-and-under divisions, at least yet.

But stay tuned. As you can see in the last paragraph of the Little League announcement, they are considering banning the bats at the younger levels prior to Spring 2011. Here is the LINK.