Quantifying Within-Individual Elbow Load Variability in Youth Elite Baseball Pitchers and Its Role in Overuse Injuries

B. van Trigt*, F.F. Bouman, Antonius J. R. Leenen, Marco J.M. Hoozemans, F.C.T. van der Helm, H.E.J. Veeger

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Abstract

Medial elbow overuse injuries are rising in baseball. The external valgus torque magnitude is a possible risk factor for medial elbow injuries. The magnitude on its own cannot explain why one pitcher sustains an injury and another does not. Therefore, the aim of this study is to describe the within-individual external valgus torque variability and to determine whether the within-individual external valgus torque variability can be described by a Gaussian distribution. Eleven youth elite baseball pitchers threw twenty-five fastball pitches. Body kinematics were measured with VICON motion capture at 400 Hz. Elbow valgus torques of the total 270 pitches were calculated with a custom-made inverse dynamic model in Python. Visual inspection and the Shapiro–Wilk test were performed to test for the within-individual elbow valgus torque normality. The results showed that within-individual valgus torque variability was present in pitchers and differed among pitchers. Furthermore, it was shown that the within-individual valgus torque variability was normally distributed in nine out of eleven subjects. In conclusion, the presence of and differences in within-individual elbow load variability among baseball pitchers can be useful variables as they might be related to overuse elbow injuries.
Original languageEnglish
Article number6549
Number of pages10
JournalApplied Sciences
Volume12
Issue number13
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Keywords

  • fastball
  • biomechanics
  • valgus torque
  • kinetics
  • ulnar collateral ligament (UCL)
  • injury prevention

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