ATI Physical Therapy: Young Baseball Players Benefit from Preseason Arm Injury Prevention Programs

16 Mar, 2016, 08:10 ET from ATI Physical Therapy

BOLINGBROOK, Ill., March 16, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- ATI Physical Therapy author Charles A. Thigpen recently presented at the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine's (AOSSM) Specialty Day, on research which demonstrated that a preseason prevention program is beneficial to young baseball pitchers. The study, the first to analyze a well-monitored preseason training program, showed improvement in arm flexibility and strength for participating athletes that contributed to a diminished risk of arm injury.

"These days, pitchers are starting younger and younger. While there are rules governing the number of pitches these children can throw, the pitches are becoming harder and faster every year. It's the price of admission these days to be a successful pitcher at any level of play," said study author Thigpen, PT, PhD, ATC, from ATI Physical Therapy in Greenville, South Carolina. "Why not look for ways to prevent or minimize these types of injuries in kids? With the right preseason training program, our study showed reduced posterior shoulder flexibility deficits as well as improved posterior shoulder strength. Additionally, it's important to note that pitchers with previous injuries saw the most benefit from the preseason program."

While further studies are needed to adequately confirm these benefits, pitchers who had previous injuries and participated in the preseason training program were 4 times less likely to suffer an injury than those in the general arm care program. The study group included 143 pitchers at a median age of 15.7, of which 88 participated in additional preseason training and 76 continued with normal training.

The prevention program was supervised by an athletic trainer and included resistance training with dumbbell weights and elastic tubing, as well as a focused flexibility program. This required an approximate 15-minute commitment from pitchers, 4 times a week.

"If we can encourage parents, coaches, and youth baseball organizations across the country to adopt similar programs, athletes may have a better chance for reducing time off the field because of injury, especially considering the increased effectiveness of the program in preventing subsequent arm injuries," continued Thigpen. "Since a large percentage of these kids will end up pursuing other professional areas in their adult years, why not take precautionary measures now to prevent long-term damage?"

This research was funded by the National Athletic Trainers' Association Research and Education Foundation. http://natafoundation.org

For more information on this and other studies, visit www.sportsmed.org or www.stopsportsinjuries.org.

About ATI
ATI is a privately held, nationally recognized healthcare company, specializing in outpatient rehabilitation and adjacent healthcare services. With a focus on delivering a remarkable experience to every patient, every day, ATI has more than 500 locations from coast to coast. ATI was named "Best Physical Therapy Practice in the Nation" by ADVANCE magazine, and was one of the first physical therapy companies in the country to achieve URAC Core Accreditation, a mark of distinction that recognizes its commitment to quality healthcare. Based in Bolingbrook, Illinois, ATI gives back to communities across the country through the ATI Foundation, a non-profit established by ATI, which has provided more than $3 million in resources and funding to children with physical impairments. For more information on ATI Physical Therapy, and a complete list of clinic locations, services and the ATI Foundation, please visit ATIpt.com.

About American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine
The American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine (AOSSM) is a world leader in sports medicine education, research, communication and fellowship, and includes national and international orthopaedic sports medicine leaders. The Society works closely with many other sports medicine specialists, including athletic trainers, physical therapists, family physicians, and others to improve the identification, prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation of sports injuries. AOSSM is also a founding partner of the STOP Sports Injuries campaign to prevent overuse and traumatic injuries in kids. For more information on AOSSM or the STOP Sports Injuries campaign, visit www.sportsmed.org or www.stopsportsinjuries.org.

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