As a White Sox team doctor, Dr. Anthony Romeo possesses knowledge and experience in baseball injuries. Consequently, in a recent Sports Illustrated article, titled “Throwing Fastballs — Not Curveballs — Linked to Tommy John Surgery,” the magazine asked Dr. Anthony Romeo about how repeated high-velocity pitches are known to wear down and cause injuries to the elbows of players at all skill levels.
Dr. Anthony Romeo explains how young pitchers are especially prone to those injuries, which most often require Tommy John Surgery. Read on to learn how young pitchers are at risk and how we can protect them, and visit Dr. Anthony Romeo, MD for more information.
An Epidemic of Elbow Injuries
Dr. Anthony Romeo has been at the forefront of a developing conversation on the high incidence of elbow injuries in young athletes — chiefly young baseball pitchers. Consequently, media outlets from WGN to Sports Illustrated have reached out to Dr. Anthony Romeo to discuss how overworked pitchers have a higher risk of suffering from injury.
Dr. Anthony Romeo lead a team of researchers who studied pitching fatigue in young athletes. The team published an article in the May issue of Arthroscopy that covered their findings. According to the article, many young pitchers exhibit fatigue-related changes after only 30 pitches, and almost all top out at 90.
With the advent of a year-round practice schedule for young players, more and more youth athletes have experienced torn ligaments that require Tommy John Surgery — a procedure once confined to the Major League. Startlingly, over 50 percent of Tommy John surgeries are now performed on young players, with that rate increasing by 9 percent every year. As Dr. Anthony Romeo put it on WGN, there is an epidemic of elbow injuries in our young players.
Protecting Young Athletes
Injuries at a young age can affect someone for the rest of their life, and preventing those injuries is of paramount importance. Dr. Anthony Romeo and others quoted in the Sports Illustrated article say high-velocity and high frequency of pitches leads to greater incidence of injury.
To protect young players, experts advocate for pitch limits and time off for players. Readers can learn more with resources at m.MLB.com/pitchsmart and Shoulders For Life at RushOrtho.com.