View Full Version : NY Times Mag: Continued Rise in Youth Arm Surgeries

08-10-2009, 06:12 AM
Interesting story in yesterday's NY Times Magazine about the increase of the years in surgeries on youth athletes. The article primarily focuses on baseball and the work of Dr. James Andrews to get youth programs to limit the number of pitches and establish breaks between pitching of young players.

It's a long piece, so I won't print it here, but here's the link to the story:


08-10-2009, 09:01 AM
Good piece, redsmetz. Thanks for posting.

08-10-2009, 09:33 AM
Good piece, redsmetz. Thanks for posting.

I thought of you specifically, Randy, when I posted it. I knew you coached, along with others here on the board. I suspect you've kept up on this while you've been doing that.

08-10-2009, 10:06 AM
Absolutely. This fall, my son, Matt, just turned 12, will be limited to 2 innings on a weekend, and is not allowed to pitch on consecutive days, ever. We have been off since the middle of June and will not start again for a couple of weeks. He pitched quite a bit this spring, and is going to pitch only in a limited amount this fall. We have taken it very easy for the past two months. We still hit, but throwing has been very limited.

08-10-2009, 10:25 AM
I didn't coach the barnstorming team this year, thankfully. team switched to 50 foot mounds this year. playing about 50 games in 2.5 months, there were two key pitching injuries (shoulders) plus a couple of other kids weren't throwing nearly as hard by end of the season as at beginning. They got knocked out in Mideast regional, again thankfully. by end of season, down to 9 players, one of whom could only play first base due to arm injury.

that many games at 50 feet wasn't bright, IMO. worse, some will be playing at 60 feet in middle school next year, which shocks me, as well as 50 more games at 50 feet.

I coach two of the players in soccer, which ticks off the baseball coaches because they miss baseball games. but those two kids show a dramatic increase in athleticism and don't get hurt playing baseball. they even seem to be pitching better in spite of not throwing year round.

08-10-2009, 10:31 AM
50 foot mounds?! How do the get up and down the mound between innings? ;)

08-10-2009, 10:36 AM
I think with the age group being discussed in this thread, there are two culprits-poor technique and work load.

A significant portion of the reason why workload is a problem rests upon poor technique.

That said, limiting time on the mound is probably a great idea for kids that age even if they throw textbook.

08-10-2009, 10:53 AM
We see a lot of teams and you are correct, jojo. There are a lot of kids who have no idea what they are doing and are just throwing it up there as hard as they can. Usually, by late in the 2nd inning and into the third inning, the velocity ceases and they start working their arm as if it doesn't feel right. I feel sorry for those kids. Their coaches have no clue. We keep strict pitch counts and really try to have enough pitchers on the team so that no one is overworked. I work very hard with my son on mechanics and we try to keep his legs in shape. Bad legs usually mean bad arms, if you know what I am saying.

The best thing about the organization that my son plays for is that they are more about developing kids than winning. That is not to say that we don't try to win, but winning now means nothing. How many trophies and plaques does a kid need? The kids that we work with are a select group. Getting the kids to be ready to play when they are 17-18 years old is the philosophy. That is when it matters the most. The organization, Carolina's Baseball Center, will be moving into a state of the art, 55,000 sq, ft facility in two weeks. They are also getting ready to break ground on a 28 field showcase park in January. I know that there are folks out there that will abuse young arms and players. I feel that I have put my son in a good place. With all that said, throwing a baseball is not a natural motion and there are always going to be risks.

08-10-2009, 10:57 AM
We play on the 50' mounds, too, princeton. My son has been working a little at 60' 6" as he will be eligible to play middle school ball this coming spring. I am not that keen on middle school baseball. It's a short, cold season, and a lot of bad things can happen to young arms that are not accustomed to throwing at that distance. The kids want to play for their school team, but I have not been impressed at all by the coaching philosophy that I have seen at our middle school.