High School Baseball Pitch Count Rule to Go Into Effect Spring 2017

The National Federation of State High Schools Association recently passed the following rules for the upcoming spring 2017 baseball season.  Coaches are now required to follow pitching guidelines based on the number of pitches thrown during a game rather than the number of innings pitched and a specific period of rest days dependent upon these number of pitches thrown.  Each state will have different limits and guidelines outlined by their individual governing bodies.  Here in Pennsylvania, it is the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association or PIAA.  Though PIAA has not released the official rules for the upcoming season as of today, there are states which have.  Alabama, for instance, requires teams to have a designated pitch counter, and if a team violates the new rules, the team will forfeit the game in which these rules were broken and also be fined $250.

These rules are a significant step towards protecting the high school baseball pitchers from overuse injuries specifically from Tommy John surgery.  A study from 2007 to 2011 showed that 57% of all ulnar collateral ligament elbow surgeries were performed on teenagers.  Though this is a big step in the right direction for the NFSH,  there is still the question as to why there is no pitch count in softball.  The incidence of upper body injury in softball is only slightly lower than that of an overhand pitcher in baseball.

References
Training & Conditioning. (2016). Protecting Pitchers. Training & Conditioning.

Shanley, E., Rauh, M. J., Michener, L. A., & Ellenbecker, T. S. (2011). Incidence of Injuries in High School Softball and Baseball Players. Journal of Athletic Training, 46(6), 648–654.

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