Dr. Gregory P. Nicholson, sports medicine specialist of Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush, was recently interviewed by co-anchor Judy Hsu of ABC7 News This Morning to discuss overuse syndrome among youth baseball players.
Overuse syndrome has garnered increased public interest as physicians see more injuries among young athletes, especially injuries related to throwing arms. Dr. Nicholson explained that overuse injuries occur when kids throw repeatedly and can consequently lead to a repetitive stress injury. This occurs more often in young kids because "their skeleton is so young."
What is Overuse Syndrome? Dr. Nicholson defines overuse syndrome as an injury that is a submaximal force. He further explains that the injury itself doesn't have a single cause, but rather does not allow a young skeleton to adjust or heal. Over time, signs and symptoms become subtle and eventually lead to a child expressing pain or parent(s) noticing their child is running or swinging differently.
Tips for parents include the following:
- Know the pitch count: In 2008, the Little League Baseball® organization instituted a pitch count and days of rest between pitch days. This led to a 50% decline in injuries among young pitchers.
- Watch for psychological burnout: Kids should be happy, they should be playing. Watch for a change in behavior or if the child becomes sullen.
- Don't play year-round: Kids should take a break.
- No weight training on game days: Kids should strengthen between game days. Kids need to be flexible and strong. Weight training on game days can potentially lead to injuries.
When addressing treatment, Dr. Nicholson highlights that it is essential to first be able to recognize that an injury exists. If the child is injured, the coach or parent should back the athlete away from the sport or activity (such as no pitching or catching). Educating parents and coaches is beneficial to all parties involved and can help minimize a child getting hurt. If the athlete is hurt, they are not able to play at their best and are at greater risk for injury, so a day or two of rest is a reasonable option to minimize the risk associated with injury.
Read more at triblocal.com.