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Sunday, August 14, 2011

Overuse, Not Curveballs, Hurts Young Arms

According to a recent study, which included more than 1,300 pitchers inLittle League, high school and college, throwing curveballs does not lead to an increased risk of arm injuries among young baseball players. Instead, the primary cause is overuse, that is, not letting young pitchers take time off from throwing ("Study: Overuse, Not Curveballs, Leads to Injuries").

The American Sports Medicine Institute, which was founded by orthopedic surgeon James Andrews, recently conducted a similar study and arrived at the same conclusion: while curveballs can be harmful if they prevent young pitchers from mastering the mechanics of throwing a baseball, they don't directly cause injuries. In fact, a separate study by the institute found that the amount of force required to throw a curveball is equal to or less than the force required for a fastball, which means that throwing a curveball may be less harmful to young arms than fastballs.

The moral of the story? If your son or daughter is a pitcher, make sure they take time off from pitching. Let them play other sports: basketball, soccer, cross-country, golf, volleyball. They'll help increase your child's coordination and dexterity, which will benefit their baseball playing abilities, while at the same time giving their arms a much needed rest.

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