No doubt athlete safety is on the top of everyone's mind. Advances in equipment, increased adoption of risk management programs, improved policy development, and increased awareness of in-game health, have all helped keep our athletes safe.
In baseball, the issue of managing pitch counts for pitchers has come to the forefront in the discussion of keeping pitchers safe. In fact, in a recent discussion on NPR, popular baseball analyst Jeff Passan shared some frightening insight on how pitchers are being forced to get "Tommy John" surgery at a younger and younger age.
"...13 and 14 and 15 and 16-year-old kids who are having this surgery that for a long time was just limited to major league and minor league and at the very least professional players. But the number of kids who have had surgery has spiked significantly in recent years to the point where more than half of Tommy John surgeries now happens with teenagers." Passan said.
But the number of kids who have had surgery has spiked significantly in recent years to the point where more than half of Tommy John surgeries now happens with teenagers
Fortunately, this situation is not being left alone. Organizations like Little League Baseball, Major League Baseball, and USA Baseball, have come together to support regulations that put caps on the number of pitches that a youth pitcher can throw in any given day, and have also put in required rest days based on the number of pitches thrown in their previous game. This initiative is called Pitch Smart and has become the standard for pitch count and rest management.
The national media is really starting to not only talk about athlete health issues, but they are recognizing the work done by organizations, like Little League Baseball, Major League Baseball, and USA Baseball, that helps protect athletes.
In fact, recently, the Wall Street Journal featured Pearland Little League who uses the pitch count and eligibility tracker in Sport Ngin as part of their athlete safety program.
Sport Ngin's Pitch Smart pitch count tracker used by Pearland Little League
According to the Wall Street Journal article, Pearland coach Andrew Solomon, who strictly adheres to Little League pitch count rules, has had an injury free team for the past six years. Of course, managing pitch count alone won't keep your team injury free, and Solomon has also included plenty of stretching, strength training, and working on proper form to their program.
Keeping track of pitcher pitch counts and player eligibility can be an incredibly difficult task for leagues, clubs, and associations. To help manage this much easier, Sport Ngin has developed a pitch count tracker with Pitch Smart rules built right into the tracker. Now, pitcher eligibility is available for everyone to see for every pitcher in your league, club, or association.
Sport Ngin helps baseball organizations manage their schedules, stats, standings, risk management programs, registration, and finances. Learn more by scheduling a chat with a Sport Ngin expert through our Get Started form: sportngin.com/get-started