The experts at Summit Orthopedics provide softball injury prevention tips in their QUICKGuide to prevent injuries and stay safe during the sport.
Shoulder overuse injuries in overhead throwing athletes are common. Enforcing the maximum pitch counts is something parents, coaches and athletes need to be vigilant about. For girls over 13, they should only be pitching for 3 consecutive days. Pitchers should rotate to other positions with rest from live pitching (includes batting practice). Reinforcing good mechanics and technique can help avoid shoulder and rotator cuff injuries.
Avoid the pitfalls of too much play
Athletes should not play one sport all-year round. Plan at least one season off, or have athletes play a different sport during that “off” season. Help players avoid injury by keeping them from playing on multiple teams with overlapping or concurrent seasons.
Perhaps one of the most boring parts of an athlete’s life is conditioning, however conditioning both pre- and during the season helps reduce the incidence of injury.
Know when to slide
Wait until a child is 10 before teaching them to slide, and when beginning instruction, use only sliding bases (not even breakaway bases). Collisions from sliding are risky business for both the one runner and the one blocking the base. Both players have responsibilities here: the player with possession of the ball should not be obstructing the oncoming runner, and the runner should slide in such a way to avoid collision if at all possible.
Know the signs of a concussion
Parents, coaches and athletes should all learn the signs of concussion. If a concussion is suspected, the player should not return to play until released by a medical professional. Remember, you don’t have to lose consciousness to have a concussion. Safety equipment should fit properly and be worn correctly.
More resources for you:
Phil Giesen, PT, MPT
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Sara grew up playing recreational sports; today, she cares for young athletes in District 833 as part of the Summit Orthopedics sports medicine team.