SATURDAY, May 23 (HealthDay News) --Play ball! Just do it safely, says the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.
In 2007, more than 203,000 U.S. children aged 5 to 14 were treated for baseball-related injuries in hospital emergency departments, doctors' offices and other medical settings, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission notes.
"Little League has become a very popular sport among children today," said Dr. Donald J. Zoltan, an orthopaedic surgeon specializing in sports medicine and a spokesman for the academy. "Coaches and parents need to remember that a child's bones, muscles, ligaments and tendons are still growing, making them more susceptible to injury, especially from overuse."
Among Little League pitchers, overuse injuries related to throwing too many pitches have become so common that they are often referred to as "Little League elbow."
But it's possible to play baseball or other sports and avoid injuries. And to do that, the academy suggests that youngsters:
In addition, parents and coaches of young baseball players should:
The academy stresses that youth sports are supposed to be fun. While team members, their parents and coaches may all fall into the trap of wanting to "win at all costs," this attitude can lead to injuries. Parents and coaches can protect their young athletes by teaching them not to ignore the signs of injury and not to play in pain.
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons has more on keeping young pitchers from developing elbow injuries.
SOURCE: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, news release, April 22, 2009