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Shoulder Injuries In Baseball Players Essay

965 words - 4 pages

Most people don’t think of baseball as a high risk injury sport. Unlike football, hockey or boxing, baseball seems tame in comparison. While it’s true that baseball is not a high contact sport, a variety of injuries can occur to the players in virtually every part of the players body but most notably in the shoulder; some of these injuries can be career ending.
One of the most common injuries is due to overuse of the shoulder because of the repetitive motion required in pitching. Major shoulder injuries include bursitis, inflammation or tears of the tendons of the rotator cuff or rotator cuff tendonitis, shoulder instability, shoulder separation and labrum inflammation or tears. In order to understand the shoulder injuries of baseball players and especially of pitchers, you have to understand the motion involved in the act of throwing. Pitchers perform a wind up, cocking, acceleration and then deceleration and follow through when throwing the ball (see Figure 1) (source). These motions can be performed up to and over one hundred times per game depending on the age and ability of the athlete. Add to the amount of weekly practice time and you can see how this repetitive motion can cause problems over time. The anatomy of the shoulder joint allows the pitcher to generate velocity when throwing the ball. The shoulder joint fits loosely in the shoulder socket or glenoid (see Figure 2) (source). The further the player can bring the arm back raised away from the body (abduction), the more velocity the ball will have when released. Because of the lack of restriction in the shoulder joint a larger demand is placed on the soft shoulder tissue that is responsible for maintaining stability. These are the structures that eventually become damaged over time, along with the underlying bone.
There are two categories of soft tissue stabilizers: static and dynamic (see Figure 3) (source). The static stabilizers consist of the ligaments of the shoulder capsule along with the cartilage ring that surrounds the socket, or the labrum. This structure is critical to a pitcher’s ability to throw because it is the attachment site for the capsular ligaments at the glenoid and also deepens the pocket resulting in stability. The dynamic structures include the rotator cuff and muscle groups of the shoulder. While pitching or throwing, the muscles in the shoulder contract at different times depending on the throwing stage. These two stabilizers work together to stabilize the gelenoid but when they become loose or too tight, stability is thrown off resulting in abnormal movement of the humeral head causing the labrum to become stressed and can result in a Superior Labrum Anterior to Posterior lesion, causing pain and ultimately surgery to repair. This is thought to be one of the largest reasons for pain in a pitcher’s shoulder. ...

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