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Play it Safe on the Baseball Diamond

Tips on making sure kids don't get injured

FRIDAY, June 4, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- It's Little League baseball season again and, along with all the fun, exercise and excitement, comes the risk of injuries.

About 500,000 baseball-related injuries are treated each year in U.S. hospital emergency rooms, doctors' offices, clinics and ambulatory surgery centers, according to a Rush University Medical Center news release.

Many of those injuries could be prevented. Rush University Medical Center orthopedic physician Dr. Charles A. Bush-Joseph, who's also the Chicago White Sox head team physician, offers the following tips on how to prevent many common baseball injuries:

  • Always warm up and stretch before a game or practice. Warm up by doing jumping jacks, stationary cycling, running or walking in place for three to five minutes. Then slowly and gently stretch, holding each stretch for 30 seconds.
  • All your equipment should fit properly and be worn correctly. Wear your batting helmet when waiting you turn at bat, while at the plate, and when running bases. Facial protection devices on batting helmets can reduce the risk of serious facial injury.
  • Wear molded, cleated and properly fitted baseball shoes.
  • Adhere to league guidelines about how many innings a child should pitch. The limit is usually four to 10 innings a week, regardless of how many teams a child plays on.
  • There are no set guidelines for the number of pitches allowed. But it's reasonable to limit a child to 100 pitches in a game and 30 to 40 pitches in a practice.
  • Catchers always need to wear a helmet, face mask, throat guard, long-model chest protector, protective supporter and shin guards.

More information

The American Medical Association has more about baseball safety for children.

SOURCE: Rush University Medical Center, news release, May 26, 2004
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