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How to Help Children Avoid Baseball Injuries

Mar 31, 2015 06:43AM ● By Amy
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By Jeffrey Peebles, M.D. – Southlake Medical Director, Complete Care

With youth baseball leagues about to get into full swing around the area, now is a good time to take steps to help your child avoid an injury. According to the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission  nearly 300,000 players 18 or younger were treated for baseball-related injuries in 2010. Here are some tips to help keep your son or daughter from becoming a statistic.

Common Injuries
Some of the most common baseball injuries include sprains, contusions  cuts and muscle pulls. Even though it is a largely non-contact sport, many injuries occur when a player is hit by a bat, a ball or another player. In addition, due to the repetitive nature of the sport, elbow and shoulder injuries are also common.

Preparation Tips
All coaches should be extremely familiar with certain first aid procedures for minor injuries such as sprains, tendonitis, strains, bruises and cuts. But they also need to be ready should an emergency arise. Coaches need to have a plan in place to contact a medical professional who has the expertise to deal with more serious issues such as heat illness, breathing problems, concussions, dislocations and fractures.

Players should undergo a thorough physical examination before the season starts to make sure they are cleared to play. By identifying potential physical problems beforehand, several types of illnesses and injuries may be prevented. These include allergies, asthma, certain orthopedic conditions and even heart trouble. 

Before hitting the field for either practice or a game, proper stretching is key to avoiding baseball injuries. Players should pay special attention to stretching out their shoulders, back and hamstrings.

Children should always have the right equipment. For example, a batting helmet with a face shield is recommended. They should not only wear it when at the plate, but also when they’re in the on-deck circle as well as running the bases. 

If your child is a catcher, he or she should not only have the right mitt, helmet and face mask, but also a throat guard, shin guards and a long chest protector. Gender-specific protective support is recommended as well, such as athletic supports for boys and padded bras for girls. All players need to wear shoes that fit correctly.

There are several ways that players can protect themselves during a game just by employing the proper techniques. For example, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons recommends that players younger than 10 not be allowed to slide. If sliding is allowed, however, the correct technique must be taught and practiced regularly. Players should never try to block a base without possession of the ball, because that could be extremely dangerous. When a runner is approaching home plate, it is important that he or she try to avoid a collision.

Pitchers have to be closely watched as well to help ensure they don’t develop arm problems. Coaches should have them on strict pitch counts – not only in games but in practice as well. For example, a pitcher between the ages of 8-10 should not throw more than 50 pitches in a game with a maximum of 75 pitches per week, according to the USA Baseball Medical & Safety Advisory Committee.

These are just some of the ways that you can help your child avoid a baseball injury this season. However, if your child is hurt on the diamond, or if you or a loved one ever experiences any sort of medical emergency, get in touch with the experts at Complete Care. Contact us online to learn more.

Dr. Jeffrey Peebles, M.D. has an extensive amount of experience in delivering advanced emergency care. He is board certified with the American Board of Emergency Medicine, and a member of the American College of Emergency Physicians/Texas College of Emergency Physicians. Dr. Peebles is committed to providing timely, affordable and high-quality medical care to the Southlake community.