High school baseball players are more likely to
experience shoulder injuries than high school softball players, although
shoulder injury rates and patterns remain dependent upon field positions,
injury severity and athletes year in school, according to results of a
study published online this week.
From 2005 to 2008, researchers from Michigan and Ohio
collected data via an Internet-based injury surveillance system on high school
baseball and softball player injuries. The data were provided by National
Athletic Trainers Association-affiliated certified athletic trainers. There
were 91 baseball shoulder injuries out of 528,147 athlete exposures and 40
softball shoulder injuries out of 399,522, for an overall injury rate of 1.72
per 10,000 athlete exposures in baseball and 1.00 per 10,000 in softball.
Muscle strain or incomplete tears were responsible for
most shoulder injuries in both baseball (30.8%) and softball (35.0%), with 10%
of baseball players and 5.3% of softball players requiring surgery.
The researchers said that in both sports, most injuries
occurred during practice (37% in baseball and 36% in softball) as opposed to
competition. However, the majority of injuries sustained during softball
practice resulted from non-pitching throwing (68.2%) while pitching was the
main cause of injury in baseball practice (41.9%).
Pitchers had the highest rate of shoulder injuries in
baseball (38%) but the incidence of shoulder injuries was the same for
pitchers, first basemen and catchers (15% each) in softball, the researchers
The researchers reported higher proportions of shoulder
injuries in both baseball (69%) and softball (68%) in juniors and seniors, with
80% requiring surgery.
Krajnik S. Pediatrics. 2010;