Baseball is America’s favorite pastime and is generally not considered a dangerous sport. However, it can present a very real risk of injuries from things like wild pitches, batted balls, and collisions in the field. Furthermore, playing multiple games per week — along with the repetitive motion of the overhead throw — can cause stress to the musculoskeletal system and leave players vulnerable to overuse injuries.
Common baseball injuries include:
- Mild soft tissue injuries, such as muscle pulls (strains)
- Ligament injuries (sprains)
- Contusions (bruises)
Although baseball is a non-contact sport, most serious injuries are due to contact — either with a ball, bat, or another player. In addition, the repetitive nature of the sport can also cause overuse injuries to the shoulder and elbow.
Baseball Injury Prevention
Fortunately, many injuries are preventable! To help prevent injuries, baseball players should:
- Warm up properly before throwing.
- Take part in preseason and in-season baseball strength and conditioning programs.
- Avoid year-round playing to give the body a chance to rest and recover. Playing different sports helps ensure that the same muscles aren’t used all the time.
- Adhere to pitch count guidelines, such as those established by Little League Baseball.
- Communicate regularly about how your arm is feeling and if there is pain.
- Speak with a sports medicine professional or athletic trainer if you have any concerns about baseball injuries or baseball injury prevention strategies.
When to seek medical treatment
Any athlete who has pain or soreness for more than 48 hours should seek medical attention. In as little as 48 hours, weakness and imbalances can occur, leading to increased risk factors when the athlete returns to play. It is crucial for athletes to talk with their parents and coaches instead of playing through any pain. Pain may be due to an underlying condition, and continuing to play could result in an injury.
If pain does not go away, or if a young athlete is playing year round without much rest, an appointment with a sports medicine specialist is recommended.