60-Second Science

Young Pitchers Benefit By Throwing

By throwing baseballs--but not too many--young players change the arm bones and soft tissue of the shoulder for the better. Karen Hopkin reports.

They say practice makes perfect. Well, another thing practice apparently doesis keep you from getting hurt. At least if you’re a young ballplayer.  Researchers at the University of Kentucky have found that spending time serving up fastballs or throwing out the runner at first can physically alter the shoulders of young athletes… potentially protecting them from future injuries.

The scientists followed a group of young baseball players…between the ages of 13 and 21…for a total of six years. They found that the act of throwing changes the arm bones and soft tissue of the shoulder. This adaptation allows the players to better maintain the ability to rotate that joint as they mature…which means faster pitches with fewer injuries. 
Of course, too much of a good thing is, you know, not so good. When pitch counts are too high…or the kids are pushed to play all year round…their shoulders can be damaged.

But the parents of young Roger Clemens wannabes shouldn’t be too concerned about their tots’ tender anatomy, the scientists say. They should just use their common sense. So, parents, protect your peewee pitchers by preventing them from pitching through  pain to procure  the pennant.

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