Preventing Baseball and Softball Injuries

EMMC Athletic Trainers Share Tips in Recognition of National Athletic Training Month

03/24/2015

(Bangor, Maine) – Despite the snow on the ground, spring has officially arrived, and local baseball and softball teams have begun preparing to get out on the diamond. In recognition of National Athletic Training Month, EMMC Sports Health athletic trainers are sharing tips that can help athletes stay injury free through the spring sports season.

“Muscle strains, bruises, and ankle sprains can happen to baseball and softball players, but throwing injuries affecting the shoulder and elbow are most common,” says JP Stowe, ATC, CSCS, an athletic trainer at EMMC Sports Health. “Injuries of this nature include elbow ligament damage, rotator cuff injuries, and growth plate injuries in the elbow and shoulder. These injuries are usually due to overuse and are often avoidable.”

Symptoms of a shoulder or elbow problem include pain; loss of motion; swelling; weakness; feeling of looseness; gradual onset of discomfort; decrease in throwing velocity; and clicking, popping, or catching within a joint. Playing in multiple leagues per season without sufficient rest, playing baseball or softball year round, lack of cross training, throwing too many pitches, and ignoring pain and fatigue can all increase the likelihood of developing these types of injuries. 

“Fortunately, coaches and parents can help prevent arm injuries by following guidelines published by USA Baseball and Little League Baseball on pitch counts and rest days,” adds Stowe. “Teaching proper throwing mechanics, ensuring athletes warm up and stretch properly, and encouraging participation in an arm conditioning program are also important.”

For position players, the likelihood of injuries can be reduced by wearing a helmet while batting or catching, using bases that break free when the runner slides hard into them, following new guidelines about the use of composite bats, and maintaining good communication in the field to minimize collisions.

If an injury is suspected, a certified athletic trainer can help assess the problem and recommend next steps for care.

“Athletic trainers are experts at handling sports injuries when and where they occur,” says Stowe. “We work closely with physicians and other medical professionals to ensure athletes receive the comprehensive care they need as quickly as possible.”

For more information about baseball and softball injuries or the role athletic trainers play in preventing and treating them, visit sports.emmc.org or call 973-8839.