Peyton N. Gober, Nicole Bordelon, Katherine Everhart, Gretchen Oliver, FACSM. Auburn University, Auburn, AL.

BACKGROUND: Youth baseball pitchers with upper extremity (UE) pain have higher training volumes and play more months per year than pitchers without pain. Similar research has not been done in softball despite comparable UE injury rates. The purpose of this study was to investigate the differences between training volumes and months per year playing between softball pitchers with and without UE pain. METHODS: 36 youth and high school softball pitchers (14.0 ± 2.0yrs, 58.8 ± 28.5cm, 62.0 ± 19.9kg) active on a team roster within the past 6 months completed an online survey via Qualtrics. Participants were asked Do you currently experience any pain/discomfort in the upper extremity?. Based on response, they were placed in UE pain (n=11;15.2 ± 1.9yrs; 164.9 ± 6.7cm; 72.0 ± 22.4kg) or no UE pain (n=25; 13.5 ± 1.8yrs; 156.2 ± 33.8cm; 57.6 ± 17.4kg) groups. Participants were asked to indicate the number of in and off-season hours per week spent practicing softball, practicing other sports, and strength and conditioning training. Lastly, participants were asked about their months per year spent training for softball. A Mann-Whitney U test was performed to examine the differences between training volumes between pitchers with and without UE pain. Median and interquartile data were reported for each variable. RESULTS: The Mann-Whitney U test indicated there were no significant differences between hours per week of in [pain:14(10,20); no pain: 12(8,15)] and off-season [pain: 8(5,12); no pain: 6(4,12)] practicing softball, in [pain: 2(0,7); no pain: 0(0,6)] and off-season [pain: 3(0,8); no pain: 0(0,3)] practicing other sports, and in [pain: 5(2,8); no pain: 4(2,8)] and off-season [pain: 7(2,14); no pain: 5(3,7)] strength and conditioning training. There were also no differences between months per year [pain: 12(11,12);no pain: 12(11,12)] of playing softball between softball pitchers with and without UE pain (all p-values > 0.132). CONCLUSION: The findings show other modifiable risk factors should be examined to identify the susceptibility of UE pain in youth and high school softball pitchers. However, results should be interpreted with caution considering the relatively small sample size (n=36). Future studies should compare other modifiable risk factors such as throwing volumes, years spent playing competitive softball, and degree of sport specialization between softball pitchers with and without UE pain.

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