Getting Ready to Play Ball

Free Clinic Addresses Throwing Mechanics, Conditioning and Dangers of Steroids

March 20, 2008

With Major League Baseball’s spring training season underway, and warm weather approaching the Rochester area, thousands of youth and teens are preparing for the upcoming baseball and softball season. To help encourage proper training and improve throwing technique, and to address issues associated with steroids and supplements, University Sports Medicine (USM) will once again host a free seminar, which will feature talks from three sports medicine experts, as well as a talk by Tony Leo, ATC, head athletic trainer for the Rochester Red Wings.

Geared toward male and female athletes aged 11-17 participating in Little League, Pony League, Junior High and High School baseball and softball leagues, the seminar will be held 6 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, April 1 at the University of Rochester Medical Center Class of ’62 Auditorium.

Sports medicine experts nationwide have seen a drastic increase in overhead throwing injuries among little league baseball players, and attribute the rise to one main culprit: overuse.

“Unfortunately, today our kids are pushed to perform at ever higher levels, and to super-specialize in one sport,” said Michael Maloney, M.D., chief of USM at the Medical Center and team physician of the Rochester Red Wings. “This focus on one sport results in a lot of overuse of muscles, tendons and joints, and in baseball, this most often translates itself into shoulder and elbow injuries – injuries that used to be limited to college ball players and above.”

According to Ilya Voloshin, M.D., a shoulder and elbow sports medicine specialist, in 2001, the American Academy of Pediatrics published research that showed that 50 percent of the 15-18 million youth injuries requiring medical attention were related to overuse, while another one-year study reviewed 172 pitchers between the ages of 9-12 years found that 40 percent of these pitchers had elbow injuries.

Andy Duncan, P.T., A.T.C., director of sports rehabilitation at USM, added that athletes often try to immediately achieve the level they played at in the previous summer, which is not realistic after a long Rochester winter.

“Couple that with overuse and improper technique, and all the ingredients are in play for an injury,” Duncan said.

The seminar will specifically address:
• pitching/throwing technique and mechanics
• techniques and mechanics to improve performance
• throwing and practice guidelines (number of throws a day, days throwing, innings pitched, etc)
• preventative exercises and conditioning for throwing
• core strength exercises to build a good foundation

The seminar also will devote time to addressing what appears to be the widespread use of steroids and other performance enhancing drugs among baseball players. Recent studies in the journal Pediatrics and the "2004 Monitoring the Future Survey" sponsored by the National Institute of Drug Abuse, show that both boys and girls are taking performance-enhancing substances as benign as protein shakes to as troublesome as anabolic steroids. Rates of usage, including steroids, range from 1.6 percent of girls to 4.7 percent of boys.

“Kids are turning to steroids because they feel enormous pressure to be faster, stronger, better – all the time,” said Mark Mirabelli, M.D., sports medicine specialist at USM. “This seminar will help athletes understand the very real dangers of steroids, and provide them with tips on how to safely boost their performance.”

Participants are encouraged to call to register at 341-9150. The Class of 62 Auditorium is located off the Kornberg Atrium of the Medical Center. Free parking is located in the lot directly outside the School of Medicine and Dentistry and research buildings off of Elmwood Ave.

For Media Inquiries:
Germaine Reinhardt
(585) 275-6517
Email Germaine Reinhardt