Pitcher aging affects throwing shoulder biomechanics and proprioception: The Italian experience

Baseball is a sport increasingly practiced in Italy. The pitcher is at risk from repetitive stress on the dominant upper arm. Because of this, pitchers train far more on the dominant arm leading to asymptomatic biomechanical changes. The purpose of this study was to compare shoulder intra/extra rotational power and shoulder motor skill in young and senior athletes. Methods: Twenty right-hand healthy pitchers playing for at least four years were recruited : Group A (12±2yrs) and Group B (24±1yrs). Subjects with a history of shoulder dislocation, shoulder surgery or structural injuries to the shoulder complex were excluded from the study. Isokinetic tests (IT) were performed to evaluate intra/extra rotational power, and shoulder motor skill test (SMST) to evaluate proprioception. Results: Performing IT, we have found in both groups a significant higher external rotation compared to internal rotation in the throwing shoulder (TS), while in the contralateral shoulder (CS) the balance was preserved ( p<0.003). In Group A, SMST was 4±2 points (TS) and 4±1 points (CS), p=n.s. In Group B, SMST was 9±1 points (TS) and 4±2 points (CS), p<0.005. Discussion and Conclusion: Italian pitchers demonstrated a higher external rotational power in the throwing shoulder after only four years of practicing baseball. Motor skill ability seems to develop later in the dominant shoulder. This study suggests that a baseball training program, especially for young pitchers, should include not only exercises to restore internal/external rotation balance but also motor skill exercises, to improve throwing ability, limit the number of throws, prevent shoulder injury over time.
© Copyright 2012 17th Annual Congress of the European College of Sport Science (ECSS), Bruges, 4. -7. July 2012. Published by Vrije Universiteit Brussel. All rights reserved.

Subjects: baseball throws shoulder technique age training prevention injury damage proprioceptive
Notations: biological and medical sciences sport games
Published in: 17th Annual Congress of the European College of Sport Science (ECSS), Bruges, 4. -7. July 2012
Editors: R. Meeusen, J. Duchateau, B. Roelands, M. Klass, B. De Geus, S. Baudry, E. Tsolakidis
Published: Brügge Vrije Universiteit Brussel 2012
Pages: 497-498
Document types: congress proceedings
Language: English
Level: advanced