Why Does Injury Rate Keep Rising In Baseball?
Photo: MLB pitcher Dustin McGowan had Tommy John surgery after six starts in Double-A
Photo credit: Wikipedia
Why Does Injury Rate Keep Rising In Baseball? Every day it seems like we read about another pitcher going down with Tommy John surgery. It seems to be the topic of baseball for the past several years but really has got everyone’s attention this season. MLB has even put a team together to look into what’s really happening and hopefully will figure it out.
There are many theories, but I think it’s time to help our youth and young men stay healthy now, and for longer periods of time.
Having said that, the point I’m really trying to get to, goes a lot farther than just arm injuries. What is really going on in today’s sports that the injury rate and types of injuries keeps rising? Every year we have arm injuries, but there have been oblique injuries, then another year it was sports hernias, then hamstrings. It goes on and on. We all have our own ideas, and I’m sure if we put them together, they would all have some validity in some way.
I think I’d like to throw my two cents in and tell you what has been on my chest about this mounting issue. Let’s start with all the additives that’s in our food today. Take a look around, body parts have gotten bigger in almost all areas. Muscles have grown so much more and so much faster. Add into our little concoction of steroids and I’d say our pot of witches brew is starting to take shape. No pun intended! Supplements of all nature are in our stores. It’s almost like you can pour yourself a new body.
Let’s face it, our kids are smarter and more into strength. Why wouldn't they? Look at the money being thrown around to our athletes these days. Heck, I think that’s enough to tempt even the strongest wills! Games are on every channel. Every game is televised now. The most ardent fan is in la-la land getting to watch all his teams. And the money keeps pouring in. Every year I say the payrolls can’t go any higher and every year, I’m wrong.
Most of those things are out of our control to some extent. Cheating in the game is being addressed. They are working very hard to bring the playing field back to a proper level. Studies are going on, people are watching more and closer too. Those are things in the right direction, but let’s talk about simple things we can do to prevent some injury. That’s just my opinion of course.
How about we practice the things that happen in our sport every game. Baseball is my game so let’s talk about that. Baseball is a game of bursts…running out of the box, diving for a ground ball, dashing in the gaps to track down a fly ball. I could go on and on. How about we run more sprints, throw the baseball more, swing the bat to get ready, take more ground balls and see what happens. Muscles are great, but let’s work with what we have. Pulling a rope across a room, throwing a weighted ball against the wall, doing balancing while juggling….I agree they help body awareness, but let’s just get back to playing the game more. Play baseball more. Do baseball things that happen in a game every night. Work on run-down plays and the fundamentals of the game that got us where we are. There has to be a happy medium somewhere. I know it’s out there. Let’s just do all those things, use a little more common sense, and find a way to keep our players healthy. After all, you can’t make any money if you aren't in the game!!
“Tommy John surgery is on a record pace this year for elite level pitchers,” said Dr. John Knight of The Hand and Wrist Institute.” This injury is very possibly a career ender at any level. The age for UCL injuries is dropping as pitchers are throwing too hard and too many pitches. The problem is the culture of increasing competition to get to the pro level requiring pitchers at an early age to throw with maximum effort.”