New York, NY—March 22, 2006
Every spring more than 2.9 million children participate in Little League baseball and softball . The Sports Medicine Institute for Young Athletes at New York's Hospital for Special Surgery sees many injured young ball players every baseball season and emphasizes that child athletes must be treated differently than their adult counterparts.
"The conditioning and training of young athletes is not the same as that for adult athletes," according to Jordan Metzl, M.D., medical director of the Sports Medicine Institute for Young Athletes. "Winning isn't everything when it comes to kids. Therefore, parents must involve themselves in the health and safety of their children on the playing fields. They must aggressively protect their children from overuse injuries and physical damage that can result in lifelong disabilities," said Dr. Metzl, who is the author of The Young Athlete, A Sports Doctor's Complete Guide for Parents (Little Brown, 2002)."
The Little League organization has placed an emphasis on improving safety on its fields - including adding fence tops that protect players from exposed wire; ball returns that keep out-of-play balls off the field until players are ready to use them; and overhead screens to protect spectators. Yet more than 5,500 injuries still occur annually .
Hospital for Special Surgery offers the following tips for parents and coaches to help prevent injuries this baseball season:
Training and Conditioning Adolescents
Pitching Dos and Don'ts for Adolescents
"Parents and coaches should pay special attention to the pitching prowess of adolescents," said Dr. Metzl. "Professional pitchers who most likely enjoy long and successful careers are those who did not overwork their arms while they were still maturing." Therefore, parents and coaches should remember to:
Injury Early Warning Signs and Symptoms
Since young ball players are very enthusiastic about playing the game, they often do not report problems with their elbow or shoulder. Therefore, to help improve the chances of early diagnosis and treatment, parents and coaches must pay attention to a number of early warning signs of impending injuries:
Signs of Anabolic Steroid Use
Although much attention has been focused on major league baseball players using anabolic steroids, studies show that between seven and ten percent of adolescent athletes use anabolic steroids in the United States. Dr. Metzl advises that detecting anabolic steroid use is difficult. But the cardinal signs to watch for include:
Sports Facilities and Equipment
"Parents and coaches must remember that most super athletes are not born that way," Dr. Metzl added. "Their talents and aptitudes are developed properly over time. Super athletes did not always win their games while growing up."
Visit: Sports Medicine Institute for Young Athletes for more information.
About HSS | Hospital for Special Surgery
HSS is the world’s leading academic medical center focused on musculoskeletal health. At its core is Hospital for Special Surgery, nationally ranked No. 1 in orthopedics (for the eighth consecutive year) and No. 3 in rheumatology by U.S. News & World Report (2017-2018). Founded in 1863, the Hospital has one of the lowest infection rates in the country and was the first in New York State to receive Magnet Recognition for Excellence in Nursing Service from the American Nurses Credentialing Center four consecutive times. The global standard total knee replacement was developed at HSS in 1969. An affiliate of Weill Cornell Medical College, HSS has a main campus in New York City and facilities in New Jersey, Connecticut and in the Long Island and Westchester County regions of New York State. In 2017 HSS provided care to 135,000 patients and performed more than 32,000 surgical procedures. People from all 50 U.S. states and 80 countries travelled to receive care at HSS. In addition to patient care, HSS leads the field in research, innovation and education. The HSS Research Institute comprises 20 laboratories and 300 staff members focused on leading the advancement of musculoskeletal health through prevention of degeneration, tissue repair and tissue regeneration. The HSS Global Innovation Institute was formed in 2016 to realize the potential of new drugs, therapeutics and devices. The culture of innovation is accelerating at HSS as 130 new idea submissions were made to the Global Innovation Institute in 2017 (almost 3x the submissions in 2015). The HSS Education Institute is the world’s leading provider of education on the topic on musculoskeletal health, with its online learning platform offering more than 600 courses to more than 21,000 medical professional members worldwide. Through HSS Global Ventures, the institution is collaborating with medical centers and other organizations to advance the quality and value of musculoskeletal care and to make world-class HSS care more widely accessible nationally and internationally.