It’s springtime again, and that means baseball is back! Baseball is a beloved American pastime, and it is one of the most popular sports played by our youth. An estimated 4.8 million children five to fourteen years of age participate annually in organized and recreational baseball and softball. Although rare, catastrophic impact injuries from contact with a ball or a bat have raised safety concerns over the years. These injuries, along with more common shoulder, elbow, and eye injuries are the subject of this article.
Between two and eight percent of baseball players are injured while playing the sport each year, and an estimated 162,000 children are injured each year from baseball, softball, or tee-ball related accidents. Of the injuries, 26% were fractures, and 37% were contusions and abrasions. The remaining injuries were strains, sprains, concussions, and dental injuries. More serious or even fatal injuries tend to result from direct contact with a bat, baseball or softball, which can leave the victim with blunt-force trauma cardiovascular and neurological complications.
Recently, pediatricians are witnessing an increase in “Little League Elbow”—a medical elbow pain attributable to throwing by skeletally immature athletes. Pitchers are most likely to be affected by this condition, but it can also occur in other positions associated with frequent and forceful throwing. The throwing motion creates traction forces on the medial portion of the elbow and compression forces on the lateral portion of the elbow. Early recognition of the symptoms is important to avoid chronic elbow pain, instability, and arthritis.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends the following safety measures to maximize the health and longevity of young athletes. Preventative measures should be used to protect young pitchers from the number of pitches thrown during games and practices. Properly-fitted safety equipment should be used in both games and practices. With baseball being the leading cause of sports-related eye injuries in children, players should be encouraged to wear polycarbonate eye protectors. Low-impact NOCSAE-approved baseballs and softballs have shown to cause less damage on impact when used among children five to fourteen years of age.
If you or a loved one has been injured in any type of accident, my team and I can help you. I am a Board Certified Civil Trial Lawyer with over 30 years of experience in helping the injured, proudly serving the people of Port St. Lucie, Vero Beach, Fort Pierce, and Okeechobee. Call me for a free case analysis and evaluation.
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