Baseball is a popular leisure sport and physical activity in Australia played by an estimated 0.4 million Aussies. The sport is played for the personal enjoyment, challenge and competition, fitness, and social reasons. The fast moves and repetitive stress in baseball make players susceptible to numerous injuries. Data on baseball injury from Australian hospital emergency department database reveals that the most common sites of injury include the shoulder, wrist, and knee. Approximately 63% of the injured players are males, indicating they may be at a higher risk of sustaining injuries because they comprise 79% of baseball participants.
2 Classifications of Baseball Injuries:
- Traumatic or Acute Injuries – occur due to a sudden impact.
- Overuse or Cumulative Injuries – occur due to repetitive stress on the soft tissues, muscles and joints.
The Most Common Baseball Injuries:
- Rotator Cuff Tears – Injuries usually strike the pitchers in baseball. A pitcher can pitch a ball at astonishing speeds of 161 kilometers per hour (100 miles per hour), which puts enormous stress on the four muscles (rotator cuff) that allow the shoulder to rotate. These muscles are held together by bands of connective tissue called ligaments. Repetitive strain on these ligaments causes them to become inflamed and bruised. This eventually leads to tears in the ligaments, which cause severe pain and swelling. An affected athlete may find it very difficult to rotate the shoulder properly.
- Shoulder Separation – Also known as AC joint tears, refers to the tearing of ligaments around acromioclavicular joint (a joint that connects the collarbone to the shoulder blade). A shoulder separation is usually caused by a direct impact to the front of the shoulder.
- Knee Injuries – Frequently strike the runners in baseball. A sudden twist of the knee joint while running can tear the cartilage in the knee. Ligaments that hold the upper part of the leg to the lower leg can also get strained or injured due to sudden changes in direction and speed.
- Head Injuries – Getting hit in the head with a ball can lead to serious head injuries. Runners can also collide with catchers, often ending in skull blows. Trauma to the skull can lead to a concussion which is characterized by dizziness, headache, confusion and comma.
- Heat Prostration – Also known as heat stroke, is quite common among baseball players. Warm, humid weather can make a player’s body temperature to shoot over 40 degrees Celsius. As a result, the body isn’t able to get rid of its heat as quickly as it builds up, causing nausea, dizziness, fatigue and excessive sweating.
Physiotherapy treatment aims at planning and implementing individualized programs for each athlete. A customized program for treating baseball-related injuries is comprised of any combination of sport-specific exercises, taping, strapping, heat therapy, acupuncture, dry needling, and sports massage. A physiotherapy expert guides patients on how to prevent recurrence of the injury on return to physical activity.
Please call Happy Physio on (08) 9272 7359 if you would like us to help you with your injuries.