Arm injuries have long been apart of baseball, however, a recent rise in ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) injuries amongst adolescents have been at the center of attention. “Our results showed that 15 to 19 year-olds accounted for 56.7 percent of the ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction (UCLR) or Tommy John surgeries performed in the US between 2007 to 2011. This is a significant increase over time with an average increase of 9.12 percent per year,” said Brandon Erickson (MD of Rush Medical Center in Chicago, Illinois). As injuries continue to rise, those within the game are looking across the diamond for a solution.

[caption id="attachment_74" align="alignnone" width="957"]baseball-donjoy-performance-elbow-sleeve Trizone Elbow Support[/caption]

Your typical baseball season begins in the spring and runs through the end of summer. However, the majority of children today are now playing baseball year-round with the addition of Fall Ball, offseason training and a longer regular season. Thus leading to increased wear and tear on the arm, a recipe for UCL damage. Dr. James Andrews and many other throwing experts recommend 3 to 4 months of no throwing with a minimum of two months without picking up a ball.

Year-Round dedication to one sport isn't helping the cause either. In order to get ahead of the pack, children today specialize in one sport instead of participating in a variety of other sports throughout the year; which can lead to overuse of the arm and eventually injury.


Major League Baseball (MLB) believes the answer to reduce the number of UCL injuries is proper guidelines and safe pitching practices. MLB has created PitchSmart, a comprehensive resource of practical, age-appropriate guidelines to help parents, players and coaches avoid overuse injuries and foster long, healthy careers for youth pitchers. Among other things, all players should take a close look at their conditioning, training, warm-ups and most importantly, limiting the amount of throws.