Preventing sports injuries in child athletes

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI)- It's always fun to see children imitating big league players, as long as they don't go crazy and injure themselves. Dr. Alex Vidan of Vidan Family Chiropractic, doesn't need the business that bad.

He says youth sports is a hot topic this time of year. If we set a standard now, the likelihood of a long term positive outcome has a much better chance.

Risk Factors:

· Pitching while fatigued - Watch for signs of fatigue during a game, during a season, and over the whole year. The American Sports Medicine Institute (ASMI) found that adolescent pitchers who undergo elbow or shoulder surgery are 36 times more likely to have routinely pitched with arm fatigue.

· Throwing too many innings over the course of a year - ASMI found that players who pitched more than 100 innings in at least one year were 3.5 times more likely to be injured than those who did not exceed 100 innings pitched. Every inning -- whether it be during a game or showcase event -- should count toward that threshold.

· Throwing too many pitches and not getting enough rest - Daily, weekly and annual overuse is the greatest risk to a youth pitcher's health. Numerous studies have shown that pitchers who throw more pitches per game and those who do not adequately rest between appearances are at an elevated risk of injury. While medical research does not identify optimal pitch counts, pitch count programs have been shown to reduce the risk of shoulder injury in Little League Baseball by as much as 50% (Little League, 2011). The most important thing is to set limits for a pitcher and stick with them throughout the season.

· Pitching with injuries to other body regions - Players should be cautious about returning to play after any injury. A sprained ankle or oblique strain can imperceptibly affect the player's biomechanics, changing the way he throws and putting more stress on his arm.

For more information visit: Resource: Pitch Smart (MLB) - m.mlb.com/pitchsmart/risk-factors/