Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Study Spotlight: Pre-Season Shoulder Strength May Determine Injury Severity in Baseball Pitchers

Arm injuries in baseball are becoming far too common.  There are even stories of people purposefully  injuring their elbows to get Tommy John surgery to further strengthen it, scary thought.  There has been a lot of focus on strengthening within the arm to try and prevent these injuries but often they don't tell us much.  This study tells us a little something different.

What They Did:
In this study they measured preseason shoulder strength over a five-year period, in all there was 144 major and minor league pitchers analyzed.  The motions that were tested were prone internal rotation (IR), prone external rotation (PER), seated external notation (SER) and supraspinatus (SS) and this was done during spring training prior to the season.  Each pitcher was then tracks throughout the year.

What They Found:
Often with these studies they don't find much in terms of significance, but this one is a little different in a good way.  There was significant association between PER, SER and SS strength with throwing related injuries that required surgery.  There was also some evidence showing an association between PER/IR strength and how often people got injured.

What It All Means:
The good news in all of this is that it makes your training worth it and it also allows you to track it.  Often too many of these studies go on to be 'inconclusive' and don't really show if you get something out of testing and strengthening. This study shows us otherwise.  With sport specialization being a hot topic in youth sports it can often lead to overuse injuries earlier and earlier in a athlete's career.  We can do something in the case of throwing with strengthening and then mechanics become the next major focus.  But that is for another Study Spotlight.

Link: Article Summary

American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine. "Pre-season Shoulder Strength May Determine Injury Severity For Baseball Pitchers." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 July 2009.

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