Published in The Orthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine, Volume 6, Issue 4, April 13, 2018.
The definitive version is available at https://doi.org/10.1177/2325967118765655.
Background: Pitching while fatigued and body composition may increase the injury risk in youth and adult pitchers. However, the relationships between game pitch count, biomechanics, and body composition have not been reported for a study group restricted to 9-to 10-year-old athletes.
Hypothesis: During a simulated game with 9-to 10-year-old athletes, (1) participants will experience biomechanical signs of fatigue, and (2) shoulder and elbow kinetics will correlate with body mass index (BMI).
Study Design: Descriptive laboratory study. Methods: Thirteen 9-to 10-year-old youth baseball players pitched a simulated game (75 pitches). Range of motion and muscular output tests were conducted before and after the simulated game to quantify fatigue. Kinematic parameters at foot contact, maximum external rotation, and maximum internal rotation velocity (MIRV), as well as maximum shoulder and elbow kinetics between foot contact and MIRV were compared at pitches 1-5, 34-38, and 71-75. Multivariate analyses of variance were used to test the first hypothesis, and linear regressions were used to test the second hypothesis.
Results: MIRV increased from pitches 1-5 to 71-75 (P ¼.007), and head flexion at MIRV decreased from pitches 1-5 to 34-38 (P ¼ .022). Maximum shoulder horizontal adduction, external rotation, and internal rotation torques increased from pitches 34-38 to 7175 (P ¼.031, .023, and .021, respectively). Shoulder compression force increased from pitches 1-5 to 71-75 (P ¼.011). Correlations of joint torque/force with BMI were found at every pitch period: for example, shoulder internal rotation (R2 ¼0.93, P < .001) and elbow varus (R2 ¼0.57, P ¼.003) torques at pitches 1-5.
Conclusion: Several results differed from those of previous studies with adult pitchers: (1) pitch speed remained steady, (2) shoulder MIRV increased, and (3) shoulder kinetics increased during a simulated game. The strong correlations between joint kinetics and BMI reinforce previous findings that select body composition measures may be correlated with pitching arm joint kinetics for youth baseball pitchers.
Clinical Relevance: The results improve our understanding of pitching biomechanics for 9-to 10-year-old baseball pitchers and may be used in future studies to improve evidence-based injury prevention guidelines.
Biomedical Engineering and Bioengineering
© 2018 The Authors
Number of Pages
This open-access article is published and distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution -NonCommercial -No Derivatives License (http://creativecommons.org/ licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/), which permits the noncommercial use, distribution, and reproduction of the article in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. You may not alter, transform, or build upon this article without the permission of the Author(s). For reprints and permission queries, please visit SAGE’s website at http://www.sagepub.com/journalsPermissions.nav.