Young pitchers looking to leave their mark on the baseball diamond are crossing boundaries that may be hindering their ability to stay in the game for the long haul.
And while a year-round throwing regimen and mastering the curve ball may help them miss bats in games today, such prolonged practices flirt with danger. Trying to do too much can spell cumulative doom for young arms ill-equipped to handle such stress, University of Nebraska Medical Center orthopedic surgeon Matt Teusink said.
"The problem that is becoming more and more prevalent now is that kids are specializing at an earlier age," Teusink said. "It becomes a problem for kids who are pitching because their arm gets overused at a young age. The ones we're seeing — all these major league players and college players needing Tommy John (ulnar collateral ligament, or UCL) surgery — are the cumulative effect of year-round pitching and not giving their arms a break and chance to recover."