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Shoulder Injuries Compared in High School Baseball, Softball

Study seeks to determine factors involved in shoulder injury rates among high school athletes

FRIDAY, Feb. 12 (HealthDay News) -- Although high school baseball and softball players tend to have similar rates of shoulder injuries, there are factors at play that may help improve preventive efforts, according to research published online Feb. 8 in Pediatrics.

Stephanie Krajnik, of the Kalamazoo Area Mathematics and Science Center in Michigan, and colleagues analyzed data provided by certified athletic trainers at roughly 74 high schools from 2005 to 2008. Participating trainers reported injury incidence and athletes' participation in practices and competitions on a weekly basis.

The researchers found that muscle strains or incomplete tears were the most common shoulder injuries in both sports, with a greater percentage of these injuries occurring in practice than in competition. Most shoulder injuries in baseball and softball were new (81 and 83 percent, respectively). Ten and 5.3 percent of baseball and softball shoulder injuries required surgery, respectively, and most injuries that required surgery were in pitchers (73 percent).

"Continued prospective surveillance is necessary to monitor injury rates and patterns over time and assess the effectiveness of rule and equipment changes. Video analysis of specific shoulder injury mechanisms, such as pitching mechanics, could provide coaches and athletic trainers with scientifically based evidence to develop targeted interventions and correct improper throwing techniques to prevent injury," the authors write.

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