A. Brady, G. McCall FACSM

University of Puget Sound, Tacoma, WA

Fatigue and soreness are leading factors that contribute to elbow injuries in baseball pitchers and orthopedists have concluded that most elbow injuries at the collegiate and professional level stem from overuse during the pitcher’s younger years of competition. Recently, the current form of post-pitching recovery, jogging, was shown to be ineffective and in some cases, have negative effects on anaerobic lower body power and throwing velocity in collegiate and professional pitchers. Intermittent sprinting recovery, on the other hand, has been shown to increase maximal power and better prepare pitchers for the repetitive maximal exertion that occurs during pitching; this could effectively reduce the onset of fatigue in pitchers as well as improve performance. PURPOSE: To investigate the benefits of sprinting vs. jogging as post-pitching recovery methods on fatigue, soreness, and velocity throughout the course of a summer youth baseball season. METHODS: Four pitchers from a competitive 15-year old summer youth baseball team were divided into two groups. The first group utilized sprinting (N=2) as their main form of post-pitching recovery, whereas the second group (N=2) utilized jogging. Throwing arm fatigue, soreness, and pitch velocity were measured for all pitches over the course of an 8-week season. Soreness and discomfort were measured using subjective scales. RESULTS: Average velocity in the sprinting group was similar to the jogging group during week 1 (69.29 ± 3.02 mph vs 70.08 ± 0.71 mph; p=0.77). It appeared that the sprint group began to show greater average pitching velocities in comparison to the jogging group during week 4 (71.06 ± 1.35 mph vs 68.48 ± 2.59 mph; p=0.37) and week 5 (69.59 ±0.72 mph vs 68.32 ± 0.65 mph; p=0.21). Due to both pitchers in the jogging group sustaining injuries during the fifth week of the season, further statistical analyses were unable to be performed between the groups. However, both pitchers in the sprint group showed a trend towards experiencing less soreness and discomfort towards the end of the season. CONCLUSION: Further research is necessary to substantiate whether sprinting recovery provides an advantage for subsequent pitching performance as compared to jogging. Developing better post pitching recovery protocols has the possibility of optimizing arm-health in pitchers at all levels of competition.

Supported by UPS University Enrichment Committee summer research grant.

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