Ten Recommendations for Junior Baseball Players to Prevent Shoulder and Elbow Injuries - Japan

Baseball Federation of Japan, Japanese Orthopaedic Association, and Bone and Joint Decade Japan published proposals to prevent shoulder and elbow injuries based on their joint survey of 10,000 elementary school baseball players twice in 2014 and 2015.

Their recommendations to help coaches, parents and young players avoid injuries due to overuse, and let them stay in the sport for a long time are summarized in ten reminders.
1. The occurrences of injuries in athletes with pitch counts of 50 or more per day or over 200 per week is clearly high. In order to continue playing baseball for a long time in the future, pitch counts at full strength should be strictly kept below this recommendation.
2. Practices involving elementary school students should not exceed three hours a day and three or less days a week.
3. Be sure to spend a sufficient amount of time, at least 20 min, warming up and cooling down before and after practice.
4. Define every Monday as a day of self-check, with instructors and parents paying attention to body pain and the range of bending and stretching of the elbow.
5. If the number of players on teams is small due to the declining birthrate, care should be taken so as not to place excessive burden on specific players.
6. In the early stage of injuries, pain may go away by taking a four or five-day break from practice. Consultation with an orthopedic surgeon is preferable in the event of even slight pain or the recurrence of pain.
7. Do not engage in excessive training at home outside of practice. In order to relax the tension of the body, instruct players to make a habit of stretching several times a day and do not allow them to engage in excessive muscle training.
8. The off season, when players do not throw balls at full strength, shall be at least three months. For example, players will only catch balls during defensive practice, without throwing at full strength.
9. A single player will desirably participate in less than 70 games a year.
10. To prevent sports injuries, close coordination between instructors and parents is important, and a mechanism by which players undergo regular examinations by orthopedic specialists should be established.
Full article of the report by Dr. Kenji Takagishi, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Saint-Pierre Hospital , Japan is available in June 12, 2017 issure of J Orthop Sci. under “Recommendations to prevent shoulder and elbow injuries due to over training in elementary school baseball players.