Baseball Fact Sheet

Facts on Baseball Injuries

How many baseballers?

  • In 1993 there were 143,100 players formally registered with the Australian Baseball Federation.

How many injuries?

  • Baseball injuries rank 13th (for children) and 16th (for adults) in terms of sport and recreation injury presentations to Australian hospital emergency departments.

Who is injured?

  • Although baseballers of all ages and levels of experience are injured, males aged 10 to 24 years are the most commonly injured group of baseballers in Australia.
  • Of those injuries to baseballers, 47% child and 88% of adult cases occurred during formal play.

When do injuries occur?

  • Available evidence suggests that injuries are more likely to occur at the start of the baseball season.

The cause and type of injuries

  • The most common cause of injury for baseballers is being hit by the ball. Also common are injuries associated with sliding to base (more common in adults), over-exertion, falls, collision with another player, misjudged catches resulting in a finger injuries and being hit by the baseball bat (more common in children).
  • Impacts with standard stationary bases while sliding incorrectly to base can cause serious hand and feet injuries.
  • Injuries to child baseballers are mostly to the head/face, including bruising, lacerations and concussion. Finger injuries, particularly strains/sprains, are also common.
  • Injuries to adult baseballers are mostly strains/sprains to the ankle or knee and fractures to the nose or tibia/fibula.

Safety tips for baseball

Good preparation is important

  • Undertake pre-season stretching/strengthening programs to assist in the prevention of overuse injuries associated with pitching.
  • Undertake a good stretching program and proper warm up for limbs before and after play and a comprehensive conditioning program to develop flexibility, endurance and strength.

Good technique and practices will help prevent overuse injury

  • Coaches should conduct pre-season stretching/strengthening programs; evaluate and correct pitching techniques; and limit the number of pitches thrown by an individual player.
  • Coaches should limit the number of pitches per week for each player, make rest periods between pitching mandatory and teach proper pitching techniques.

Wear appropriate safety equipment

  • Wear good quality, double eared helmets with face protectors which will protect the face from the tip of the nose to below the chin, including the teeth and facial bones.
  • Wear energy absorbing chest padding when batting, pitching or catching to distribute any blows from a baseball impact over a broad area of the chest.
  • Always wear shin protection, breast plate and a helmet with a mask when playing in the catchers position.
  • Children players should wear properly fitted genital protectors at all times in the field.

Modify playing environments to improve safety

  • Use breakaway/quick release bases instead of standard stationary bases to reduce the load impact generated should a player impact with the base. Standard bases are not designed to absorb the force of a sliding player and can cause serious injuries to the hands and feet upon impact.
  • An American study has estimated that the use of break-away bases could represent a 80% reduction in the risk of injury involved with sliding.
  • Pad fences, walls and posts to help prevent injury if players run in to them when attempting to catch the ball.

Modify rules for children

  • Encourage children to play TeeBall as a means of developing good technique.

Other safety tips

  • Use protective screening to protect players in dugouts and on benches.
  • Ensure playing fields and facilities are well maintained.
  • Players should be instructed to slide in the correct manner.
  • Safety screens should be used during practice, particularly for batting practice.

If an injury occurs

  • Ensure all injured baseballers receive adequate treatment and full rehabilitation before resuming play.

 

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