3 Factors That Predict Risk for Shoulder & Elbow Injuries Among Young Pitchers

Sports injures cannot be prevented, but can they be predicted?

According to a news release from the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine, predictions could be made in a young pitcher.

Image via Youth1 Sports

From the study, three factors may correlate with a history of shoulder and elbow injuries:

  1. Pitching speed
  2. Player’s height
  3. Pitching for multiple teams

The study’s lead author, Peter N. Chalmers, MD revealed interesting correlations in each of these factors:

“Our findings indicate that a 10 inch increase in height is associated with a 20% increase in likelihood of a history of injury, a 10 mile per hour increase in velocity is associated with a 12% increase likelihood of a history of injury, and playing for more than one team is associated with a 22% increase in the likelihood of a history of injury. Using these three factors alone allowed accurate prediction of 77% of injury histories.”

Dr. Chalmers stated that pitching speed is the strongest correlate. However, pitching less may not decrease the risk since it doesn’t lessen the “peak” stresses on the elbow. He acknowledged that more research will need to be conducted on the matter because a lower pitch count might not result in a decreased injury risk.