Now that baseball season is in full swing, doctors are concerned with the increasing numbers of injuries due to the sport. Most of these injuries, which affect shoulders and elbows, are seen mostly in young children.
"We're seeing, especially in the younger athletes, the younger they are the more we are seeing them because
"We can see anywhere from elementary school from seven up to the teenage years," said Teresa Lindell, physical therapist at Sports Physical Therapy of New York. "The younger they are, the more we are seeing them because they are not doing different sports as much anymore. They are specializing just in baseball and they are doing it all year around."
This means that young children are not getting an off-season. Meanwhile, professional baseball players only play designated times a year, making it easier on their muscles. Lindell also added that an increase in club teams means that kids are now playing the sport in school and out of school, straining their muscles even further.
"It used to be they were just playing in schools so they'd maybe have a couple games a week or a couple practices a week," Lindell said. Now they are playing in schools and club teams as well. The more you throw the more you are likely to get hurt.
Roger Parker, Assistant Coach for the Arizona Diamondbacks, thinks one of the main issues is when children try to impress their friends and family.
"I think that they have pressure," Parker started. "Peer pressure more than anything. Most of the parents here are rooting them on, glad that their kids are getting out in this nice weather, and having some team sports. But it's key to development of most children."
Lindell thinks that coaches do play a vital role on the safety of children.
"The coaches should be sticking to a pitch count," she said. "The rules are well outlined in the Little League Guidelines."
Betty Calvo-Torres, a mother of one of the players and sponsor for the team agreed.
"We hear about injuries, but most of those injuries come from overworking the arm," she said. So if there's a shortage on the team, then coaches are forced to put the kids in more often than they would."
So how can you protect your kids while they play ball?
"Be mindful of how many pitches they are pitching and how many teams they are playing for," Parker said.
"They need a good three to four months rest and not be playing all year around. They'll perform better and avoid a lot of the injuries that way," Lindell concluded.