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At the Sports Medicine Center at Children’s Hospital Colorado, we understand the physical demands of baseball players, also known as “throwing athletes.” When treating this highly vulnerable group of athletes, something as simple as shoulder pain can actually be caused by a multitude of injuries.
Because we understand the way kids grow, move and even the way they play ball, we’re able to diagnose injuries and develop a treatment plan to get your child back on the field. We also teach appropriate throwing patterns and correct throwing faults to help ensure a safe return to the sport.
The throwing motion in baseball can result in both acute and chronic injuries that change as the child ages. The growth plate is the most vulnerable tissue in younger throwers, resulting in injuries to the elbow (known as “little league elbow”) and the shoulder (known as “little league shoulder”). As the child achieves skeletal maturity, those injuries may progress to ligament, tendon or muscle injuries.
Injuries in baseball are not limited to the shoulder, however. Knee pain, particularly in catchers, and traumatic injuries may also occur.
Most of all, with the popularity of year-round training, overuse is becoming the main cause of injury, accounting for 50% of all injuries.
Both boys and girls are prone to shoulder and elbow injuries in baseball. The age of the athlete has a profound effect on the injuries. For example, little league elbow is most prevalent before skeletal maturity, around 14 years old. Little league shoulder is more prevalent from 11 to 17 years of age.
At Children’s Colorado, we frequently see young baseball players with:
As you work to protect your young athlete from getting hurt, keep an open line of communication with the coach and look for signs of overuse before they become injuries.
Check out our sports articles, written by our Sports Medicine experts. You'll find advice and tips for parents, coaches, trainers and young athletes.