I am a primary care sports medicine physician who is trying to not only protect my 11 year-old son's pitching arm but also those of his teammates and all the other kids in the Little League for whom I serve as Safety Officer. Our LL follows LLI's pitch count/rest day requirements, which I monitor and enforce for all 40+ teams (not an easy task!). THANK YOU for getting LLI to put these rules in place!!! My son is now playing travel ball and I am trying to protect his arm there as well. I have read your research but still have a couple of burning questions and would greatly appreciate your reply!
1. The 2009 NY Times article in THIS LINK states that your original recommendations to LLI included a daily max of 75 pitches for 11-12 year olds, and 4 days rest if >60 pitches were thrown. Is that correct? Were any of your other recommendations (e.g. daily max for other age groups, or rest day requirements for lower number of pitches thrown) also changed by LLI?
2. The research clearly shows that overuse is the main factor associated with elbow injury, but can you explain how you and Dr. Andrews came up with the actual numbers you recommended for daily maximum pitch count and rest day requirements? I understand the injuries and the risk factors for injury, but would like to better understand how evidence-based the numbers I am working so hard to follow really are.
Post by Glenn Fleisig, Ph.D. on Aug 21, 2014 14:37:21 GMT -6
I just emailed you some research articles. The research articles show a statistical relationship that more game pitches correlate with higher injury risk. However no study proves an exact cut-off for safe pitch counts. In reality, the safe pitch count is different for different kids. Thus, youth leagues need to enact pitch limits that are reasonable; and then, coaches and parents have to be on the lookout for fatigue and other warning signs.
Thanks, Glenn. Same kind of thing with the rest day requirements, or is there any science behind the recovery time needed for repair of tissue microinjury?
Also, what about my question #1 above? Did you originally propose lower limits for the younger pitchers as well? If you want to email me about that too that's OK, or if you'd rather not talk about it I understand.
OK, will do Glenn. I really appreciate your help, your research, and making yourself available like this. I'm thinking about attending the annual ASMI baseball conference in January - perhaps I'll be able to thank you in person then.