Most youth baseball caregivers are unaware of safe pitching guidelines
Despite the implementation and accessibility of safe pitching guidelines, 83% of surveyed youth baseball caregivers were unaware of the existence of these safe pitching recommendations, according to published results.
Christian Reintgen, MD, and colleagues from the department of orthopaedic surgery at the University of Florida, distributed a 22-question survey on demographic data, knowledge of overhead throwing guidelines, pitching history, presence of risk factors associated with overhead throwing injuries to 98 primary caregivers of youth baseball pitchers in North Central Florida. According to the study, 41.8% (n = 41) of caregivers identified as the athlete’s father; 52% (n = 51) identified as the athlete’s mother; and 6.1% (n = 6) identified as “other.”
After polling, the researchers found 83% of caregivers (n = 81) were unaware that safe pitching guidelines existed. Of surveyed caregivers, 52% (n = 51) recalled their child having arm pain as a result of pitching; 26% of pitchers (n = 25) were forced to miss a pitching appearance due to arm pain; and 27% of all players (n = 26) sought medical attention for arm pain due to pitching.
Survey data also showed that players who pitched more than 6 months of the year, were aged more than 13 years and threw curveballs were prone to throwing arm pain.
“Protecting youth baseball players from preventable injuries is imperative considering there are over 200,000 youth baseball teams in the United States,” the researchers wrote. “Given the results of this study, further measures need to be taken to improve caregivers’ understanding of current guidelines to help increase compliance and protect youth pitchers,” they concluded.Editor's Note: The story was updated July 27, 2021 with additional information on the study’s definition on a caregiver.