COLUMBUS — Arm and shoulder injuries in youth baseball players continue to rise despite efforts to prevent overuse. In fact, about 75 percent of youth baseball players report having arm pain. However, a unique new approach to training may help prevent these injuries and help keep kids on the field and out of the doctor’s office.
“A lot of kids are playing baseball year round, which can leave them vulnerable to injury,” said Michael Macatangay, a certified athletic trainer at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. “The injury prevention program that we’ve developed monitors how much they’re throwing, and perhaps more importantly, finds and fixes issues with their throwing form that can lead to injuries.”
The program uses video analysis to show players their exact body position at every point of their throw. By making small changes to their foundation and mechanics, athletic trainers can help ease the strain on their arm. “Every player has a different throwing angle,” said Macatangay. “It’s important to pinpoint issues for each individual and personalize a plan based on their unique style.”
Macatangay says the program not only prevents injuries, but can also improve players’ skills. Players who participate are monitored throughout the season to see how the changes to their throwing style are keeping them healthy and to ensure they’re getting plenty of rest and recovery between games and practices. Athletic trainers are hoping schools and baseball leagues nationwide will use the program as a model to help kids avoid painful injuries and continue to enjoy the game