Dr. Greer says most players are reluctant to voluntarily take time off, but failing to follow the recommendation can lead to an unplanned – and painful – hiatus if a player experiences an injury that requires surgery.
Even without surgery, players with motion issues in their shoulders and elbows will have to undergo therapy that involves a halt in throwing for several weeks until proper motion is reestablished through stretching and strengthening exercises.
Dr. Greer says the worst thing a player can do is pitch through problems.
“We see it all the time; when they do this, they run into secondary problems that require surgery,” he says.
“Prevention is key,” he continues. “Through proper pitching mechanics, limiting the number of pitches thrown, ensuring adequate rest after competition and maintaining strength and flexibility, players will spend more time on the field and less time in the training room or operating room.”
He encourages young pitchers, their parents and coaches to follow Major League Baseball’s “Pitch Smart” guidelines, a series of age-based recommendations meant to help young players avoid overuse injuries. The guidelines address pitch counts, days of rest and more.