Tips For Safe Summer Baseball Play
Summer days at baseball games conjure images of peanuts, hot dogs, and cheering crowds on sunny afternoons. We don’t think of player injuries. By taking a few preventative precautions, families and players can keep the emphasis where it belongs: on the competitive fun.
Minnesotans pack every moment of summer with outdoor activities, and baseball is high on the list of favorite recreational sports. The sports medicine team at Summit Orthopedics shares our community’s love of this iconic American sport, and has some tips to keep your neighborhood baseball games filled with fun—and injury-free.
- Get a physical exam. Whether you are a child or an older player, a medical examination by one of our sports medicine physicians supports safety by identifying any potential issues that could become a problem on the playing field, including asthma, allergies, heart conditions, or orthopedic vulnerabilities.
- Be aware of safety resources. Confirm that the baseball field where you play has a cardiac defibrillator and ready access to medical personnel to treat asthma, allergies, and other medical emergencies. “A defibrillator may seem like a general precautionary measure, but it is crucial to treat a specific sports-related injury called ‘commotio cordis,’ or cardiac concussion,” Dr. James Gannon points out. “This is a potentially lethal disruption of the heart rhythm caused by a direct blow to the sternum. It is rare in baseball, but there have been instances of sudden death in young baseball players when the player is hit in the chest by a line drive ball, triggering an abnormal heart rhythm.”
- Make a habit of warming up before play. Stretches and easy calisthenics warm up muscles and prepare your body for activity.
- Use protective equipment. When you step up to bat, wearing a batting helmet with protective face shields and a protective jacket will help shield you from injury. Catchers should always use a catcher’s mitt, helmet, face mask, throat guard, chest protector, protective supporter, and shin guards.
- Confirm the safety of your playing field. Sliding into base causes a lot of injuries. Make sure you play on a field with breakaway bases, and inspect the field for uneven terrain and potentially dangerous debris.
- Follow protocol for technique. Research tells us that certain competitive actions put players at greater risk. We know that players under 10 years of age should never slide into base. Coaches should discourage the blocking of players who are running between bases; blocking is dangerous to the runner and the fielder. Be familiar with playing protocols; they are developed for your safety.
If injury does occur, our OrthoQUICK clinics and sports medicine team are here to evaluate your injury, develop a treatment plan, and get you safely back to health. With any luck, we can have you back on the field before baseball season comes to an end.
Summit Orthopedics offers comprehensive sports medicine expertise
From Olympians to pro athletes to kids in youth sports and those that just want to be more active—Summit Orthopedics delivers expert care by fellowship-trained sports medicine physicians. If you are recently injured or concerned about ongoing pain, Summit Orthopedics sports medicine specialists have the expertise to evaluate your discomfort and develop a plan to quickly and safely help you get back to being active.
Summit has convenient locations across the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area, serving Minnesota and western Wisconsin. We have state-of-the-art centers for comprehensive orthopedic care in Eagan, MN, Plymouth, MN, Vadnais Heights, MN, and Woodbury, MN, as well as additional community clinics throughout the metro and southern Minnesota.
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Jack Skendzel, M.D., one of Summit Orthopedics’ sports medicine experts, shares his best advice for avoiding stress fractures during the summer outdoor sports season.