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Free clinic aims at protecting arms of young pitchers By erIK stOrdahL | SportStars

As the baseball season kicks off for most players, it has been on-going for those who compete on club teams and play year-round. Baseball is no joke to these players; they eat, sleep and breathe baseball. They travel all over the country to compete in some of the highest tournaments. No doubt their bodies take a toll, and for the pitchers, their arms become susceptible to serious injury. That’s why Sutter Delta Medical Center wants to help. They’re hosting an event on April 7 with special guest Dr. Benjamin Busfield on how to minimize risk of serious arm, shoulder and elbow injuries. With experience in assisting in the care for the Los Angeles Lakers, Dodgers, Kings, Sparks and Anaheim Ducks, Dr. Busfield has been around athletes and serious injuries. Dr. Busfield contends that even if a pitcher throws as few as 50 pitches in a game, he’s still putting his arm at risk of serious injury. Naturally, if the pitch count goes up, so does the probability of injury. Dr. Busfield has a solution for this growing problem. “For children ages 7-14, four days

of rest should follow where more than 66 pitches are thrown,” says Dr. Busfield, who is an orthopedic surgeon for the East Bay Physicians Medical Group. “For ages 15-18, the same rest period should follow where more than 76 pitches are thrown.” Most young pitchers throw nothing but fastballs, but those who also throw curveballs and sliders may experience an increased risk of injury. “Curveballs...increase the risk of shoulder pain by 52 percent, “Dr. Busfield explains. “And sliders increase the risk of elbow pain by 86 percent.” Without delving into all of Dr. Busfield’s April 7 lecture, he maintains the one thing he wants parents, players and coaches to take from this event is not to let your kids overuse their arms. If they start experiencing pain, they should seek orthopedic care. This free event is open to everyone and will be held at the gymnasium of Deer Valley High School from 6:00 to 7:00 pm on April 7 and is hosted by the Sutter Delta Medical Center. Please call (925) 779-3608 or email if you have questions. ✪

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Complete the uniform: Wear a mouth guard

articipants in almost every sport can avoid the pain and expense of many injuries if they are equipped with the proper safety gear for that activity, including a properly fitted mouth guard. The American Dental Association estimates that mouth guards prevent more than 200,000 injuries in the high school and college sports annually. Still, mouth guards are not standard issue for many sports. Boxing is the only professional sport that requires mouth guards. In organized amateur sports, the only ones with such mandates are boxing, football, ice hockey, men’s lacrosse and women’s field hockey. A 1995 study on the high incidence of oral injuries showed that in football, where mouth guards are mandatory, only .07% of all injuries involved teeth and the oral cavity. Conversely, in basketball where mouth guards are not worn, 34 % of all injuries to players involved teeth and/or the oral cavity. With more than 5 million teeth knocked

out in athletic events each year, its evident that athletes do not realize the fundamental importance of mouth guards. JUST THE FACTS: ■ Dental injuries are the most common orofacial injury of participation sports. ■ The purchase of a properly fitted mouth guard will be less costly than the expense and treatment of a fractured tooth (average cost to repair and for follow-up treatment: $500). ■ Athletes are 60% more likely to incur damage to the teeth when not wearing a mouthguard. ■ Every athlete involved in contact sport has about a 10% chance per season of an orofacial injury or a 35-56% chance during an athletic career. ✪

Health Watch bruce Valentine

If you have questions or comments regarding the “Health Watch” column, write the Sports Medicine For Young Athletes staff at Health@

March 10, 2011



Issue 19, 03.10.2011  

Baseball and softball season are on deck!

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