SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) — A new report on the growing numbers of torn ligaments and the resulting surgeries among Major League Baseball pitchers is raising some eyebrows among youth baseball coaches and parents.
Dr. James Andrews and Dr. Glenn Fleisig, of the American Sports Medicine Institute, released a position statement on torn ulnar collateral ligaments and the so-called Tommy John surgeries for pitchers this year.
Among their findings, the researchers claim there is little relationship between injuries and the practice by young pitchers of throwing curveballs.
In his daily chat with the KCBS Radio morning crew, John Madden, still thinks the curveball is an issue and notices the heavy use of it in Little League.
“They have a pitch count so they’re aware that they can have a problem with a young arm but they don’t do anything about the problem that they can’t have by throwing curveballs.”
Essentially, the report states that pitchers should throw less, throw hard less often and that they should not play winter ball.
Madden added that pitchers should not throw movement balls and recalled a conversation he had will Don McMahon, who had an 18-year career in Major League Baseball and never once spent time on the disabled list.
“He told me that never threw a curveball in his life until he got to the major leagues…and that that was the reason,” Madden said.
In other sports-injury news, President Obama called Thursday for more robust research into youth concussions, saying there remains deep uncertainty over both the scope of the troubling issue and the long-term impacts on young people.
Madden is glad about the national attention but said that the first thing they should do is take helmets off of kids.
“There is no reason that a kid, 7-,8- or 9-years old puts a helmet on—there is no reason. They can do plenty of things; they can still play touch or flag or whatever so they can still throw it, catch it and do all those things and learn how to play,” he said.
“I’m not sure what the president is going to say but if he said one thing: take the helmets off of young kids—that would be a big, big start.”