April 29, 2009

Ways to prevent baseball injuries

Coaches, parents and players can help ensure baseball does not result in injury, U.S. doctors say.

The members of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons say the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission reports more than 203,000 children between the ages of 5 and 14 were treated in hospital emergency rooms, doctors' offices or clinics for baseball-related injuries in 2007.

Members of the academy offer recommendations for how injuries in young can be prevented. These include:

-- Making sure the player is in proper physical condition. Playing when very tired or in pain should not be allowed. All players need to know and abide by the rules of the sport.

-- Wearing appropriate protective gear such as batting helmets and shoes with molded plastic cleats. Besides mitts, catcher need chest guards, face guards, and knee and shin pads for catchers. Coaches should ensure that the equipment fits properly.

-- Warming up with some light exercise for at least 3 to 5 minutes, then slowly and gently stretching the muscles to be exercised, holding each stretch for at least 30 seconds.

-- Not using steroids and other substances to artificially enhance performance. Parents and coaches should be aware of the symptoms that indicate an athlete is using these dangerous substances.