A System or Method of Analysis for Injury Prevention in Sports, Youth Fastpitch Softball Pitchers: A Pilot Study

*Corresponding author: Rebecca L. Fahey*, Karen L. Fahey, Michael D. Fahey†, Peter D. Ehn and Robert R. Schweyer

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original research

Abstract

Background

The prevalence of softball injuries in young pitchers is increasing with more injuries in the upper extremity in the beginning of the season.

Research Question

Calculate the forces generated during the pitching motion of female youth pitchers at four main areas: the stride, hips, shoulder, and wrist for 2 groups. R1: u1≠u2.

Study Design

Pilot study, Cross-sectional design.

Level of Evidence

Level-2, Strength-B.

Methods

This study included a total of 15 female youth fastpitch softball pitchers (mean age, 14.33-years; mean weight, 59.01 kg) recruited to participate during the Fall Softball League (2014). Divided into two groups: 270° hip rotation group vs. a projected 360° hip rotation group.

Results

A paired sample t-test showed that the 2 groups (270° hip rotation and projected 360° hip rotation) were strongly and positively correlated (r=0.993, p<0.001). There was a significant average difference between 270° hip rotation and the projected 360° hip rotation forces (t14=12.996, p<0.001). On average, the projected 360° hip rotation forces were 580.68 N higher than 270° hip rotation forces (95% CI [676.51, 484.84].

Conclusion

The Current Method (CM) of pitching clearly uses the shoulder as the driving force of the pitch, as pitchers created 467.96 N of force at the shoulder. Pitchers who used 270° hip rotation produced an average of 147.33 N at the hip while these same individuals can create an average of 589.30 N with full hip rotation.

Clinical Relevance

Pitchers using the CM of pitching generated an average of 468 N of force at the shoulder. Identifying interruptions in the kinetic chain is the key to reducing injuries. This is accomplished by creating the ideal kinetic chain and teaching it through a certified pitching coach program. Once identified, interruptions can be modified and changed through exercises to strengthen and improve the kinetic chain.

Keywords

Softball injury prevention; Fastpitch softball; Windmill pitch; Female youth pitchers; Windmill biomechanics.