Baseball Safety for Children More than 40 million Americans participate
in softball and baseball each year, many of them children. Unfortunately,
almost 500,000 players of all ages are injured seriously enough each year
to seek medical attention. The most common types of baseball and softball
injuries are related to being hit by the ball, sliding into bases, over-exertion,
colliding with another player, and finger injuries that occur when attempting
to catch the ball.
The February 5, 2003, issue of JAMA includes an article about preventing
baseball injuries among children by using faceguards and modified baseballs.
Many softball and baseball injuries can be prevented by following a
few simple tips:
Before your child begins participating in softball or baseball,
take him or her to a doctor for a physical examination to determine if your
child has any special injury risks.
Be sure your child wears protective gear while playing. Helmets
should be worn while batting, waiting to bat, and when running bases and should
have eye protectors (either safety goggles or a face mask). Catchers should
wear a face and throat guard and use a special catcher’s mitt, chest
protector, shin guards, and athletic cup (boys).
If your child is a pitcher, make sure to talk to the coach about
excessive pitching. Throwing the ball repeatedly can cause arm, elbow, and
shoulder problems, and your child should stop if he or she feels discomfort.
Before playing, your child should do some stretching and warming
up to prevent muscle pulls and strains.
Make sure your child knows to stop playing and ask for help if
he or she experiences any pain.
Because many injuries occur while players are sliding into bases,
breakaway bases should be used. These soft bases attach to the ground with
snaps and are dislodged when a player slides into them, preventing injury.
Use of reduced—impact balls is associated with a reduced
risk of injury in youth baseball.
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
American Academy of Pediatrics
To find this and previous JAMA Patient Pages, go to the
Patient Page Index on JAMA’s Web site at www.jama.com. They are available in English and Spanish. A Patient Page on the benefits
of exercise was published in the June 14, 2000, issue.
The JAMA Patient Page is a public service of JAMA . The
information and recommendations appearing on this page are appropriate in
most instances, but they are not a substitute for medical diagnosis. For specific
information concerning your personal medical condition, JAMA suggests that
you consult your physician. This page may be photocopied noncommercially by
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Sources: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, American Academy
of Pediatrics, American Red Cross, US Consumer Product Safety Commission
Topic: SPORTS INJURIES
SP, Lynm C, Glass RM. Baseball Safety for Children. JAMA. 2003;289(5):652. doi:10.1001/jama.289.5.652