Published in 2017 Summer Biomechanics, Bioengineering, and Biotransport Conference Proceedings, June 21, 2017.
The number of ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) reconstructive (i.e. “Tommy John”) surgeries performed on youth baseball pitchers have more than doubled since 2000 . Routinely pitching while fatigued is considered a leading factor associated with UCL injuries; adolescent pitchers who had elbow or shoulder surgery were 36 times more likely to have routinely pitched with arm fatigue . MLB/USA Baseball Pitch Smart guidelines limit 9-10 yr. old pitchers to a maximum 75 pitches per game, a figure based on long-term studies related to injury prevention . Several studies have shown that pitching kinematics (e.g. elbow flexion/extension and pronation/supination, scapulothoracic internal-external rotation) may change as adult pitchers reach muscular fatigue , and such kinematic changes could result in higher elbow and shoulder rotational torques that may increase injury risk . Several biomechanical studies have been done on ~12 yr. old youth pitchers [5,6] but none have been reported at the 9-10 yr. old level. This study aims to predict elbow and shoulder joint torques throughout a simulated game of 75 pitches for 9-10 yr. old youth pitchers and investigate joint torque correlations with pitch count, pitch speed, and body mass index (BMI; kg/m2).
Biomedical Engineering and Bioengineering
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