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Thread: Does Anyone Know Of Any Follow Up Reports On Pitch Counts?

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    Does Anyone Know Of Any Follow Up Reports On Pitch Counts?

    With all of the hullabaloo once again over a "Marshall" thread, and the mirror study and enacted "pitch count" regulations for youth pitchers....it got me wondering if there have been any follow-up studies to see if the pitch count rules are preventing injury as was their goal.

    The only reference that i could find was from an article on the MomsTeam.com® website that stated......
    Limits are working

    According to a 2011 study by researchers at the University of North Carolina commissioned by Little League, its pitch count program appears to be working, reducing the risk of shoulder injury among pitchers in Little League Baseball (ages 8 to 13) by 50 percent.
    ....which interestingly enough, only talks about "reducing the risk of shoulder injury' and doesn't mention a thing about elbow injuries and their related Tommy John surgeries, which was the original pitch counts were developed to reduce.

    Even in their "Position Statement for Youth Baseball Pitchers - Updated June 2012", simply reiterated their pitch count recommendations, but never said anything about their effectiveness over the years in which they have been in place.

    They did however, include some additional recommendations that I are interesting and might hit a sore chord with some around here. They included....

    1. Watch and respond to signs of fatigue (such as decreased ball velocity, decreased accuracy, upright trunk during pitching, dropped elbow during pitching, or increased time between pitches). If a youth pitcher complains of fatigue or looks fatigued, let him rest from pitching and other throwing.
    2. No overhead throwing of any kind for at least 2-3 months per year (4 months is preferred). No competitive baseball pitching for at least 4 months per year.
    3. Do not pitch more than 100 innings in games in any calendar year.
    4. Follow limits for pitch counts and days rest. (Example limits are shown in the table below.)
    5. Avoid pitching on multiple teams with overlapping seasons.
    6. Learn good throwing mechanics as soon as possible. The first steps should be to learn, in order: 1) basic throwing, 2) fastball pitching, 3) change-up pitching.
    7. Avoid using radar guns.
    8. A pitcher should not also be a catcher for his team. The pitcher-catcher combination results in many throws and may increase the risk of injury.
    9. If a pitcher complains of pain in his elbow or shoulder, discontinue pitching until evaluated by a sports medicine physician.
    10. Inspire youth pitchers to have fun playing baseball and other sports. Participation and enjoyment of various physical activities will increase the youth's athleticism and interest in sports.
    .....so how many here are going to steadfastly follow ALL of these new recommendations?

    Time to turn in all those radar guns from all those parents and coaches below high scholl baseball. Feel free to send yours to the: Mudvnine Saving Youth Arms Against Radar Guns Foundation. We'll be melting them all down and donating their materials recycling money to the ASMI.

    But seriously, when a "scientific" study is done, and a hypothesis is drawn (youth pitchers are getting hurt requiring to many TJ surgeries), a prediction is made (too much pitching is hurting them), and a "test" (pitch counts enacted to reduce the amount of pitching and thus reduce injuries) is done.....usually there is some type of "analysis" done to see if the prediction is correct or not.

    Where's the follow up "analysis", and if it hasn't been done.....why not? :
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    If you ever find one I would be greatly interested...
    This topic was discussed at the World Baseball Convention several years ago, with many skeptics, me included, asking the proponents of pitch limitation (as the major solution to youth arm injuries) how do you measure success... We could never get a reasonable answer.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mudvnine View Post
    With all of the hullabaloo once again over a "Marshall" thread, and the mirror study and enacted "pitch count" regulations for youth pitchers....it got me wondering if there have been any follow-up studies to see if the pitch count rules are preventing injury as was their goal.

    The only reference that i could find was from an article on the MomsTeam.com® website that stated......

    ....which interestingly enough, only talks about "reducing the risk of shoulder injury' and doesn't mention a thing about elbow injuries and their related Tommy John surgeries, which was the original pitch counts were developed to reduce.

    Even in their "Position Statement for Youth Baseball Pitchers - Updated June 2012", simply reiterated their pitch count recommendations, but never said anything about their effectiveness over the years in which they have been in place.

    They did however, include some additional recommendations that I are interesting and might hit a sore chord with some around here. They included....


    .....so how many here are going to steadfastly follow ALL of these new recommendations?

    Time to turn in all those radar guns from all those parents and coaches below high scholl baseball. Feel free to send yours to the: Mudvnine Saving Youth Arms Against Radar Guns Foundation. We'll be melting them all down and donating their materials recycling money to the ASMI.

    But seriously, when a "scientific" study is done, and a hypothesis is drawn (youth pitchers are getting hurt requiring to many TJ surgeries), a prediction is made (too much pitching is hurting them), and a "test" (pitch counts enacted to reduce the amount of pitching and thus reduce injuries) is done.....usually there is some type of "analysis" done to see if the prediction is correct or not.

    Where's the follow up "analysis", and if it hasn't been done.....why not? :
    Fail on 2 and 8 for me..and we used to gun kids but don't now. We do play year round ball and all but a couple play another sport...four to five weeks rest for pitchers twice a year..maybe not enough. Some of our catchers pitch also. Everything else on that list is of course reasonable..pitch counts are fine as long as a coach can see if a pitcher needs to be relieved prior to the limit...jmo

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    Yeah, it's really nothing more than unsubstantiated opinion. Hardly of any value to those of us coaching young pitchers.

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    7 is a clear fail. Old wives tales. Further, guns can reduce injuries.

    We've been over this many times, but...

    We used a radar gun in youth ball during games. If the pitcher slowed down 3+ mph consistently, we pulled him. Many times, this coincided with walks, but not always.
    Last edited by songtitle; 09-21-2012 at 06:50 AM. Reason: add explanation for Jake
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    Quote Originally Posted by songtitle View Post
    7 is a clear fail. Old wives tales. Further, guns can reduce injuries.
    How?????
    ?
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    Some FU studies would be great however they would be hard to conduct properly (I work in a company that does cancer studies BTW). this is because the later load also plays a role not the milage till a certain age.

    also you would need a proper stratification to avoid secondary influences. for example kids that throw more also could be just faster throwing (and thus being used more). this would influence the results). unfortunately there has yet to be a study about the correlation of throwing velocity and injuries. I cannot prove it but I believe that throwing hard is the single biggest risk factor but we would need a study on this.

    still FU data that compare kids that had low counts against high counts over longer period would be quite valuable. would be interesting what happens years later to those kids.

    It is also important to use overall pitches since a lot of the good kids play for 2 or more teams (travelball...) and not just one league.
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    It's hard to have a followup on this, since the numbers were picked out of thin air to begin with. I have never seen a study that justified the pitch limits that were recommended.
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    Nice thread Mud,

    I do not believe the statistic in the first place, no Dr’s or hospitals keep these stats and the nature of injuries with pitchers has always been and will continue to be secretive.
    Dr. Andrews says the injury rates have increased tremendously, he says anecdotally in his office they are up 700% and he saw his first TJ with a 13 year old that used to never happen. Most kids who play club ball in the fall and winter still play LL in the spring but even this is changing so these numbers are dubious.
    Around here the numbers have increased in my opinion also. I’m still getting new kids that come in already injured with a Dr’s release in their hands. I had one come in yesterday for batting with a pressure band on his elbow and I asked his father why he was wearing it and he said because he had severe tendonitis in his elbow. I explained to him what the problem was and (flexor tendons grade sprain) why. He told me he only pitched once a week only 4 innings with one bullpen during the week and they were not counting pitches but his kid was very good and threw very few pitches ever. He said his pitching coach said that pronation stuff was a bunch of baloney and I directed him to Doc’s web site for verification. I have heard these same things said about the main tenet for pitching now from all the elite pitching coaches in our area and ironically their clients keep showing up at my doorstep with shoulder and elbow problems.

    At this point if we can’t even get the mechanical information to be believed, how are we going to get the pitch count information to be believed if the studies on them are nothing more than just anecdotal “case work” and not real studies. I do know that club ball for biological 16 and under is ruining the youth arms here in America.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mudvnine View Post
    With all of the hullabaloo once again over a "Marshall" thread, and the mirror study and enacted "pitch count" regulations for youth pitchers....it got me wondering if there have been any follow-up studies to see if the pitch count rules are preventing injury as was their goal. …
    What proof do you require? Are you taking the position that pitch counts have absolutely no benefit, or do you only wonder the extent of any benefit?

    Unfortunately, while the numbers weren’t “picked out of thin air”, there was no way possible to quantify the extent of any problem, therefore it was impossible to do much more than make “educated guesses” based on experience.

    In the end, it sounds as though what you’re trying to do is get pitch counts thrown out as a way to mitigate pitching injury, and to turn over all control to coaches, no matter what their experience. I’m all for it, providing you have some other plan that’s as easily put into place.
    The pitcher who’s afraid to throw strikes, will soon be standing in the shower with the hitter who's afraid to swing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jake Patterson View Post
    How?????
    ?
    Note that they suggest pulling a kid when velocity decreases, then "avoid using radar guns." Ridiculous. I, too, will pull a kid for fatigue when velocity drops 3-4 mph, a difference I can't reliably tell without a radar gun! For those of you that think kids ONLY throw their hardest when there is a radar gun around, think again.

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    This stuff is of litle use. Sure, pitch count limitations are somewhat helpful, but until someone does a true study, these guidelines are to be taken with a grain of salt. They are minimally useful. They could be greatly useful if there were good studies out there. The anecdotal evidence concerning youth injuries is total BS. We will all acknowledge that the youth game has changed a lot over the past couple of decades. Sure there has been an increase in reported injuries. The key is REPORTED. Twenty years ago you didn't take a kid to the ortho surgeon for an aching arm. Today, there's more info out there. It's a fauilure to the community that places like ASMI make recommendations based on anecdotal evidence rathert an genuine complete studies. A couple of years ago they finally got around to testing the old "don't let kids throw curves" recommendation and seemed genuinely shocked to find that the fastball was more stressful and that curves probably weren't a problem afterall. Even that study was rather limited.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Roothog66 View Post
    This stuff is of litle use. Sure, pitch count limitations are somewhat helpful, but until someone does a true study, these guidelines are to be taken with a grain of salt. They are minimally useful. They could be greatly useful if there were good studies out there. The anecdotal evidence concerning youth injuries is total BS. We will all acknowledge that the youth game has changed a lot over the past couple of decades. Sure there has been an increase in reported injuries. The key is REPORTED. Twenty years ago you didn't take a kid to the ortho surgeon for an aching arm. Today, there's more info out there. It's a fauilure to the community that places like ASMI make recommendations based on anecdotal evidence rathert an genuine complete studies. A couple of years ago they finally got around to testing the old "don't let kids throw curves" recommendation and seemed genuinely shocked to find that the fastball was more stressful and that curves probably weren't a problem afterall. Even that study was rather limited.
    Little use? Perhaps to you, but how about to the thousands and thousands of coaches and millions of parents who don’t have your experience?

    So what would you do if you were God of Baseball that would be of even such “little” use that could be accomplished with so little cost?
    The pitcher who’s afraid to throw strikes, will soon be standing in the shower with the hitter who's afraid to swing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by scorekeeper View Post
    Little use? Perhaps to you, but how about to the thousands and thousands of coaches and millions of parents who don’t have your experience?

    So what would you do if you were God of Baseball that would be of even such “little” use that could be accomplished with so little cost?
    Since you love stats, can you provide any stats to prove that the pitch count limit has worked at reducing injuries? Even ASMI says that injuries are on the rise. Something doesn't add up.

    Pitch count limits may reduce lawsuits to leagues. That's a benefit.
    Last edited by songtitle; 09-21-2012 at 11:38 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roothog66 View Post
    Note that they suggest pulling a kid when velocity decreases, then "avoid using radar guns." Ridiculous. I, too, will pull a kid for fatigue when velocity drops 3-4 mph, a difference I can't reliably tell without a radar gun! For those of you that think kids ONLY throw their hardest when there is a radar gun around, think again.
    I think we have been through this a number of times... I for one do not agree with you. Please attend one of the major baseball conventions and ask a reputable college, professional and orthopedic specialists what they think.... Don't believe me just sit down and have a conversation with one of them... After coordinating clinics for more than 10 years and listening to hundreds of experts I have yet to have ONE tell me it's a good tool at the youth level. Whether a child is throwig 73 or 70 is not a good sign on the amount of stress he is placing on his shoulder and elbow. Decreased velocity is not a good wear indicator... no more than increase velocity is... There are way too many other more important factors to consider.

    I understand you do not agree... But I tell parents to stay away from coaches who break out the guns... They are focussed on the wrong things, especially U-HS. I would offer that a coach who relies on a gun to show arm/player fatigue needs to be looking elsewhere for help.
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    Whether a child is throwig 73 or 70 is not a good sign on the amount of stress he is placing on his shoulder and elbow. Decreased velocity is not a good wear indicator
    I just want to let that quote simmer on the grill. There's no need to add any sauce or spice to it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jake Patterson View Post
    I think we have been through this a number of times... I for one do not agree with you. Please attend one of the major baseball conventions and ask a reputable college, professional and orthopedic specialists what they think.... Don't believe me just sit down and have a conversation with one of them...

    After coordinating clinics for more than 10 years and listening to hundreds of experts I have yet to have ONE tell me it's a good tool at the youth level.
    Have any of them recommended that the LLWS discontinue using radar guns? Do you think the LLWS should stop using them?

    In the entire history of LLWS, has anyone ever been injured by a radar gun?
    Last edited by songtitle; 09-21-2012 at 11:49 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by songtitle View Post
    Since you love stats, can you provide any stats to prove that the pitch count limit has worked at reducing injuries? Even ASMI says that injuries are on the rise. Something doesn't add up.

    Pitch count limits may reduce lawsuits to leagues. That's a benefit.
    Don’t have to. Common sense dictates less use means less wear and tear, and that would equate to fewer injuries.
    The pitcher who’s afraid to throw strikes, will soon be standing in the shower with the hitter who's afraid to swing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jake Patterson View Post
    I think we have been through this a number of times... I for one do not agree with you. Please attend one of the major baseball conventions and ask a reputable college, professional and orthopedic specialists what they think.... Don't believe me just sit down and have a conversation with one of them... After coordinating clinics for more than 10 years and listening to hundreds of experts I have yet to have ONE tell me it's a good tool at the youth level. Whether a child is throwig 73 or 70 is not a good sign on the amount of stress he is placing on his shoulder and elbow. Decreased velocity is not a good wear indicator... no more than increase velocity is... There are way too many other more important factors to consider.

    I understand you do not agree... But I tell parents to stay away from coaches who break out the guns... They are focussed on the wrong things, especially U-HS. I would offer that a coach who relies on a gun to show arm/player fatigue needs to be looking elsewhere for help.
    To begin with, most college and professional coaches have nothing to do with youth baseball players and their opinions are worthless to me. I guarantee I have worked with more youth 8-15yos than the vast majority of them. Decreased velocity is a VERY GOOD indicator of fatigue. Slight changes in mechanics due to fatigue = loss in velocity. Often those slight losses in mechanics are not easily discerned by watching a pitcher at full speed. Ask your professional and college coaches what they think of your opinion that decreased velocity is not a good wear indicator. Do you honestly think they would agree with you? For you to tell parents to steer clear of coaches who pull out the radar gun is reckless and ridiculous. Many very good youth coaches use radar guns for a variety of purposes. Ortho surgeons continue to spout the same crap they've been spouting for years. Of course, their opinions will be toward the safest path possible. You offer them what is known as a push poll. If the two options are "should a kid pitch a lot " or should he pitch "not a lot" the answer is pretty obvious. I just this week had a verty reputable local sports ortho surgeon tell me that a the curve ball is the most destructive thing a kid can do to his arm. He quoted Fleisig, Andrews, and ASMI recommendations to me. He obviously hasn't kept updated on the debate. So, now that I've calmed down, tell me exactly how it is you think radar guns are destructive. Is it that you think pitchers try to show off when they are around? If so, is it your position that they don't try to do the same things for their teammates and friends?

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    Quote Originally Posted by scorekeeper View Post
    Don’t have to. Common sense dictates less use means less wear and tear, and that would equate to fewer injuries.
    Why are injuries on the rise, then?
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    Grandma should be banned from watching youth games. Johnny might blow out his arm.

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