I have a question. If my son starts pitching at age 9 and follows all the pitch count guidlines, proper rest, proper instruction, will he be more at risk later on in high school and beyond to injur his arm just because he started pitching at 9 instead of waiting a few more years?
Post by Glenn Fleisig, Ph.D. on Dec 10, 2012 8:49:28 GMT -6
Each child is different so there is not one exact equation that fits all. However ASMI has done extensive research in patterns in amount of pitching, types of pitches, biomechanics, and other factors. Based upon the research, we have established this Position Statement: www.asmi.org/research.php?page=research§ion=positionStatement
Is it true that a healthy pitchers arm is actually stronger than an average persons? The reason I ask these questions are because some people think I am slowly ruining my kids arm because he did start pitching at 9 (now 17, still pitching) and he has always "thrown" a lot bur not actually ever overused on the mound. I read somewhwre that healthy pitchers tendons, ligaments and muscles are actually strobger than an average persons. Is this true? And, if it is, shoyldnt my sons arm actually be healthier than an average persons?
Post by Glenn Fleisig, Ph.D. on Dec 11, 2012 8:20:34 GMT -6
Like every other form of exercise, you need to avoid too much and avoid too little. Throwing is needed to build up the arm's strength and the athlete's technique. Muscles can build up the most with ligaments, tendons, and bones build up to a lesser extent. However the act of building strength is actually break down and recover. Whether you throw, swim, lift weights, run, or other activity, the soreness you feel afterwards is actually feedback that you have microtrauma or microtears in your tissues. Then, with proper rest, nutrition, and hydration, your body repairs and adapts, making the "damaged" area stronger than before. So a baseball player who doesn't throw enough won't stimulate his arm to build up, but a player who throws too much will damage his arm faster than it can recover, leading to serious injury. Again, it is worth noting that the exercise and training primarily builds the muscle, and tendons and ligaments do not build up much with training but are most susceptible to throwing injuries.
The proper science is to listen to the athlete's body. If he/she feels pain near the elbow or shoulder, this is a warning sign that he/she is doing too much and is on the road to serious injury unless he/she backs down and rests.