Mercy Health's Orthopaedic Dream Team Offers the Following Tips to Help You Be Well Throughout Baseball Season

(CINCINNATI; April 9, 2014) – Spring means one thing – baseball season is here! Mercy Health’s orthopaedic dream team, which provides advanced, quality care with compassion in your neighborhood, offers the following safety tips to help you be well throughout the baseball season so that you can enjoy America’s game longer and in good health.

A proper warm up is vital to staying healthy, no matter what sport you play. It’s especially important for young baseball players, who are vulnerable to shoulder and elbow injuries. Many of these injuries are due to micro-trauma arising from repetitive throwing, a problem exacerbated by the number of games young athletes play not just during the traditional baseball season but also during increasingly popular fall and winter baseball leagues. This can lead to an increase in the total number of throws throughout the year, putting shoulders and elbows at risk for injury.  

A good baseball warm up to incorporate into your routine includes:
• Jogging for five minutes
• Dynamic stretching of the upper and lower body
• Strength exercises for the shoulder
• Start warm up throws at a close distance with a gradual progression in distance

Players should always use proper mechanics and focus on location when throwing.

For the players’ health and safety, coaches should consider the following:
• Gradually progressing pitchers to the higher end of their pitch count as the season progresses
• Have players see a physician and stop throwing if they experience any shoulder or elbow pain
• Avoid putting the pitcher in as a catcher
• Rotate players to other positions throughout the season
• Encourage the athlete to let you know how their arm is feeling
• Emphasize control, accuracy and good mechanics
• Adhere to your league pitch count rules and have adequate rest days

Pitchers should:
• Never return to the mound after coaches have removed them from a game
• Avoid pitching on multiple teams with overlapping seasons
• Tell their coach if they are in pain
• Not pitch with pain
• Not pitch on consecutive days
• Master the ability to locate your fastball before learning other pitches
All players should avoid playing year round baseball and seek the advice of a sports medicine doctor or athletic trainer if they have any questions or concerns about injuries or proper training or if they are in pain. The athlete should always see a physician immediately if experiencing elbow or shoulder pain during or after throwing and painful or restricted movement of the arm.     

In addition to shoulder and elbow injuries, concussions are a concern in baseball. A concussion is an injury to the brain. Most people associate a concussion in baseball with getting hit in the head by the ball. Contact elsewhere on the body from a fall or player contact can lead to a concussion even if you didn’t hit your head directly.

There are simple rules to follow to help protect your safety and wellbeing if you get a concussion. Ohio law does not allow you to return to activity on the same day you got a concussion and you are not permitted to return to play until you’re cleared by a doctor. You should never return to play if you still have concussion symptoms. Returning to play too early may cause Second Impact Syndrome. This is when you receive a second blow to the head before you have completely recovered from a concussion. This second impact can cause the brain to swell, possibly resulting in brain damage, paralysis and even death.

Coaches will look to see if you demonstrate any of the following signs of concussion: 
• Appears dazed or stunned
• Is confused about assignment
• Forgets plays
• Unsure of game, score or opponent
• Moves clumsily
• Answers questions slowly
• Loses consciousness
• Shows behavior or personality changes
• Can’t recall events prior to or after the injury

You may have a concussion if you experience any of the following symptoms:
• Headache
• Nausea
• Balance problems or dizziness
• Double or fuzzy vision
• Sensitivity to light or noise
• Feeling sluggish
• Feeling foggy or groggy
• Concentration or memory problems
• Confusion

It's important to have good eating habits and maintain a strengthening program on a weekly basis throughout the season for the best results.

Remember, too, that the body needs time to recover throughout and after the season. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends one day of rest during a sports season and at least three months off from any particular sport.

Rest can be the best treatment for a variety of injuries. Once your injury has healed and your doctor has cleared you, you can start to work with a sports medicine specialist or athletic trainer to regain movement and strength. This will prepare you to get back into baseball activities. Some injuries may require surgical intervention to help correct the problem. 

Mercy Health Physicians, as well as physicians, physical therapists, athletic trainers and locations of Mercy Health – Cincinnati SportsMedicine (CSMOC) & Orthopaedic Center and a partnership with Wellington Orthopaedic & Sports Medicine comprise The Dream Team. The Dream Team consists of 35 doctors practicing from 15 locations in neighborhoods throughout Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky.
Returning every patient to normal function as quickly, compassionately and safely as possible is the goal of Mercy Health’s Orthopaedics, Spine and Sports Medicine team. Together with physical therapists and athletic trainers, they provide comprehensive orthopaedic care for the foot and ankle, hand, wrist and elbow, hip, knee, shoulder, neck, back, joint replacement and sports-related concussion.

You can meet the team, learn more about their areas of specialty and find their office locations by visiting http://e-mercy.com/orthopaedics-sports-medicine.aspx. To find a Mercy Health physician in your neighborhood, or to learn about the services provided at Mercy Health, please visit http://www.e-mercy.com/physicians.asp or call 513-981-2222.