NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – As big leaguers return to the diamond, little leaguers are continuing the now year-round sport.
But with the pressure to compete increasing, so too are the number of arm injuries in young baseball players.
CBS2’s Dr. Max Gomez took a look at an injury-prevention program aimed saving youngsters from major surgery.
Jeremiah Cangelosi has loved baseball since the age of three.
“I throw two or three times a week, and then I usually play all year except for three months in the winter,” the high school pitcher said.
Pitching that much can take a toll though.
“I have had soreness just from throwing a lot and everything,” Cangelosi said.
It turns out the cause of that soreness wasn’t just the number of pitches he threw, it was also in his form.
Two years ago he started working with Michael Macatangay, an athletic trainer at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, who helped develop a unique injury prevention program.
“Right there. Elbow and hand is gonna be right at 12-o-clock,” Macatangay told the young pitcher.
“One of the components we use in this injury prevention program is they actually analyze their throw using video analysis through our iPad,” Macatangay explained.
“It really showed me my arm’s not on time with the rest of my body, which was putting a lot of strain on my arm,” Cangelosi told CBS2.
This allows athletic trainers to find and fix throwing habits that can lead to injuries, personalizing a plan for each player.
“Every athlete, every thrower has a different type of throwing angle,” Macatangay said.
Athletic trainers are hoping schools and baseball leagues will use the program as a model to help kids stay on the field and out of the doctor’s office.
“They stay healthy, they enjoy the sport more and, overall, not have to go to the emergency room or in a hospital in general for a baseball injury,” the trainer said.
Jeremiah says the program has not only kept him pain free, but he’s pitching better than ever.
“From video to video, every time we met you could see a difference in whatever we had been pinpointing on,” the teen added.
It’s also critical to ensure players get plenty of rest and recovery between games and practices because overuse is a major cause of injury – especially with baseball pitchers.