A guide to treating mid-season baseball injuries
Youth baseball diamonds are flooded with baseball players, and so are physical therapy clinics as aspiring superstars attempt to bounce back from on-the-field injuries.
An injury can be devastating for children, but seeing a doctor as soon as they get hurt is vital for a quick recovery, says Dr. Aaron Buchler, a sports medicine physical therapist at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, Ill. Players need to take care of their bodies and understand why they are sore or why they lost velocity or control.
One of the first steps to treating an injury is identifying the cause or source of the pain.
“Ask, ‘Why is there pain?’” says Dr. Buchler. “Pain is often caused by lack of preparation for the season, faulty mechanics, overuse or a combination of all three.”
Youth baseball players are being asked to play more games than ever before and need to realize they have to take care of and prepare their body before and during the season.
Some of the most common baseball injuries include:
- Rotator cuff tendonitis/tear
- Biceps tendonitis
- Superior labrum anterior-posterior (SLAP) tear
- Ulnar collateral (Tommy John) ligament sprain/tear
- Medial epicondylitis
“The treatment approach is similar regardless of the cause of the injury, reduce the pain and assess it to identify the risk factors that lead to the injury,” Dr. Buchler says. “I perform a video analysis of the athlete’s throwing biomechanics. Rest is also a necessary option, but until the cause is corrected, pain will return upon resuming the activity.”
Parents, coaches and players should be educated on identifying injuries and ways to better prepare during the off-season. Additionally, coaches need to keep an eye on their players and ask them more detailed questions about how they are feeling physically.
“No player is going to answer the question, ‘How do you feel?’ with ‘Bad, I need to come out,’” Dr. Buchler says. “If they do, it is definitely too late.”
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