Youth Athlete Throwing Motion May Help Shoulder

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Kentucky researchers find changes occurring in the arm bone and soft tissue of the shoulder of athletes in youth baseball may help protect against injury.

"Young baseball players who throw a lot maintain external shoulder rotation as they mature," study leader Dr. Scott D. Mair, of the University of Kentucky, in Lexington, says in a statement. "Good external rotation of the shoulder may help athletes throw faster while reducing their chance of injury."

To evaluate the adaptive changes in the shoulder joint of overhead throwing athletes, Mair tracked 32 male baseball players between ages 13 and 21 for six years to study changes in range of motion, strength and X-ray images.

The researchers found that the act of throwing causes changes in the upper arm bone and soft tissue in the shoulders of young baseball players. "This is not necessarily a bad thing," explains Mair. "It can help protect players from injury. However, pitch counts that are too high and playing year-round can push those adaptive changes to the point of injury."

The findings were presented at the annual meeting of the American Orthopedic Society for Sports Medicine, in Calgary, Alberta.

Submitted by DMorgan on Thu, 08/23/2007 - 8:44pm.