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As Youth Baseball Season Nears, Experts Urge Injury Prevention
Date:2/27/2012

MONDAY, Feb. 27 (HealthDay News) -- With winter turning to spring, youth baseball will soon be starting.

Experts are warning, however, that young ball players are at risk for injuries, many of which are preventable.

"Baseball is America's pastime. In order to minimize the risk of injury and maximize enjoyment of the game, coaches, parents and youth baseball and softball players should be familiar with 'an ounce of prevention' guidelines," statement co-author Dr. Joseph Congeni said in a news release from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

The AAP has issued a revised policy statement on youth baseball and softball, published online Feb. 27 in Pediatrics.

According to Congeni, "being aware of a few issues regarding overuse, appropriate equipment, environmental factors and those rare but catastrophic injuries can help accomplish these goals and ensure kids are having fun and staying healthy playing ball."

Throwing injuries are a major issue for young baseball players but can be prevented by teaching about proper throwing mechanics, training and conditioning, and encouraging players to stop playing and seek treatment whenever they experience signs of overuse injuries, the statement advises.

"Not everyone may know exactly when an athlete begins to show signs of overuse, but it is important to know to never pitch when one's arm is tired or sore. Athletes must respect the limits imposed on throwing, including pitch counts and rest periods," statement co-author Dr. Stephen Rice said in the AAP news release.

Among the other recommendations:

  • All players should wear appropriate protective gear, including polycarbonate eye protection or metal cages on helmets when batting.
  • Coaches and officials need to monitor extreme weather conditions (such as heat or lightning) and postpone or cancel games if players are at risk.
  • Coaches should have quick access to an automated ex
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