Pitch Count Limit for Youth Baseball Pitchers
Matsuura, Tetsuya Tokushima University Tokushima University Educator and Researcher Directory KAKEN Search Researchers
Takata, Yuki Tokushima University
Iwame, Toshiyuki Tokushima University
Iwase, Jyoji Tokushima University Tokushima University Educator and Researcher Directory
Yokoyama, Kenji Tokushima Prefecture Naruto Hospital
Takao, Shoichiro Tokushima University Tokushima University Educator and Researcher Directory KAKEN Search Researchers
Nishio, Susumu Tokushima University
Arisawa, Kokichi Tokushima University Tokushima University Educator and Researcher Directory KAKEN Search Researchers
Sairyo, Koichi Tokushima University Tokushima University Educator and Researcher Directory KAKEN Search Researchers
Background: Reducing the number of pitches thrown is regarded as the most effective way to prevent throwing injuries in youth baseball pitchers. However, few studies have compared the effectiveness of limiting the pitch count versus the limiting the number of innings pitched in terms of elbow injuries.
Hypothesis: We hypothesized that, compared with inning limits, pitch count limits would lead to greater decreases in elbow pain, range of motion deficits, positive moving valgus stress test results, and the risk of capitellar osteochondritis dissecans (OCD).
Study Design: Cohort study; Level of evidence, 3.
Methods: This study retrospectively reviewed baseball pitchers aged 8 to 12 years in 2017 and 2018. Inning and pitch count limits in games were set to a daily maximum of 7 innings in 2017 and 70 pitches in 2018. Elbow pain, range of motion, and moving valgus stress test results were evaluated. The presence of capitellar OCD was assessed on ultrasonographic and radiographic images.
Results: A total of 352 pitchers in 2017 and 367 pitchers in 2018 participated. The mean pitch count per game was lower in the pitch count limit (CL) group (52.5 ± 16.0) than in the inning limit (IL) group (98.2 ± 19.5) (P < .001). Compared with the IL group, the CL group had significantly lower rates of elbow pain (40.9% vs 31.9%, respectively; P = .01) and reduced flexion (19.0% vs 10.6%, respectively; P = .001). Multivariate analysis revealed a significant association between elbow pain and age in both the IL and the CL groups (P < .0001 and P = .02, respectively) and between OCD and elbow pain in the CL group (P = .04).
Conclusion: A pitch count limit of ≤70 pitches per day for baseball pitchers ≤12 years could be more protective against elbow pain and reduced flexion than a limit of ≤7 innings per day, but it may not be effective for reducing the risk of capitellar OCD.
Orthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine
American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine|SAGE Publishing
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