It’s Baseball Season: Peanuts, Popcorn and . . . Injury?

Rosemont, IL – Baseball and softball season has finally arrived and teams across the country have started to practice and play, putting America’s favorite pastime in full swing. Whether players are batting, running, sliding, throwing or catching, these activities can result in injury. As part of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons’ (AAOS) Prevent Injuries America!® program and the STOP Sports Injuries campaign, orthopaedic surgeons offer recommendations on how to avoid sprains, strains and overuse conditions when playing baseball or softball./p>


According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in 2010:


  • More than 414,000 Americans were treated in hospitals, doctors’ offices and emergency rooms for baseball-related injuries.
  • Of that total, more than 282,000 baseball injuries occurred in those 18 years of age or younger.


  • More than 336,500 Americans treated in hospitals, doctors’ offices and emergency rooms for softball-related injuries
  • Of that total, more than 135,400 softball injuries occurred in those 18 years of age or younger.


“Youth baseball and softball injuries have been on the rise for several years and are now reaching nearly epidemic proportions thanks to year-round training and sport specialization,” said orthopaedic surgeon and AAOS/STOP Sports Injuries spokesperson, James Andrews, MD. “The STOP Sports Injuries and Prevent Injuries America! campaigns educate parents, coaches and the athletes about the importance of sport diversification and overuse prevention.”


  • Players should always take time to warm up and stretch before and after play as needed:
    • Pitchers should concentrate on stretching their arm, shoulder and back muscles and throw pitches up to speed gradually.
    • A catcher’s focus should be on stretching the legs and back.
  • Limit the number of teams on which your child is playing in one season. Kids who play on more than one team are especially at risk for overuse injuries.
    • Don’t allow your child to play one sport year round – taking regular breaks and playing other sports is essential to skill development and injury prevention.
    • Don’t allow your child to pitch on consecutive days and avoid pitching on multiple teams with overlapping seasons.
  • Players should wear a batting helmet at the plate, in the “on deck” circle when they are waiting for their turn at bat, and during base running.
  • Instruct players on proper sliding techniques. Teach children at the appropriate age to slide feet first with their hands up.
  • Develop skills appropriate for a child’s age group:
    • Coaches must teach and allow practice of proper sliding techniques before using a bag, including breakaway bases. Players younger than 10 should not be taught to slide.
    • Emphasize control, accuracy and good mechanics
    • Adhere to pitch count guidelines, such as those established by Little League Baseball


    Maximum Pitch Counts
    Age Pitches/Game
    7-8 ——– 50
    9-10——– 75
    11-12 —— 85
    13-16 ——–95
    17-18——– 105
    Source: Little League Baseball


  • Speak with a sports medicine professional or athletic trainer if you have any concerns about injuries or prevention strategies:
    • Good communication between doctors, players, parents, and coaches is key to the diagnosis and treatment of baseball injuries.
    • Don’t encourage children to play through pain and be aware of their mannerisms on the field. If they appear to be injured, seek help before symptoms become severe. Young players may not be able to recall exactly how an injury happened or describe their symptoms in detail. In fact, they may even hide injuries because of concern about being removed from play.


More tips on baseball and softball injury prevention

Field and Gear Safety

More information about the AAOS