By Tiffany Blackmon - bio | email
LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) –Barbe High School pitcher, Sam Smith, has been playing baseball for as long as he can remember, but last year he began to experience problems with his throwing arm.
"My arm started getting sore, I had tendentious in my elbow. I guess I just needed a break," said Smith.
Over-working the throwing arm can cause health problems in the long run, and with so many young ball players, Dr. Cascio, Director of Sports Medicine at Memorial Hospital, says it's important to take preventative measures early on.
"There is a limit to what the body can take and 10 year olds aren't meant to be out throwing everyday year round," said Cascio.
Dr. Cascio is involved with the American Orthopedic Society for Sports Medicine in a national study of injury patterns in pitchers ages 9-18.
Variables such as pitch count, the type of pitch being thrown, and the number of games without rest can cause chronic or acute problems.
Cascio stated, "I see kids as young as 15 or 16 with chronic problems, meaning bone spurs, in their elbow already and that's arthritis so they're going to have arthritis for the rest of their life."
Acute problems include growth plate injuries on the elbow or shoulder before they've had a chance to fuse.
"We see widening of the growth plate, sometimes breaking of the growth plate," said Cascio
Cross training or playing multiple sports, as Smith did when he was younger, is one way to protect a throwing arm.
"It helps your body use other muscles, put stress on different places on other joints, so you're not having the same repetitive stress over and over again."
Dr. Cascio will be doing a study and evaluating pitchers in Southwest Louisiana, for more information call 494-4900.