Baseball may not seem as dangerous to players as contact sports such as football or boxing, but as anyone who has played at any level knows, it is a physically taxing game. Injuries are even more common if players enter into it lightly, thinking that precautions aren’t really necessary. In fact, if your general level of fitness and technique isn’t commensurate with the level you’re playing at, or if you haven’t warmed up correctly, then a baseball injury is a likely proposition, and it could be more serious than you expect.
A good coach should make sure that their team is doing everything necessary to avoid injuries, and they should keep a close watch on players during the game to see if a word of advice, timeout, or even medical treatment is required.
Muscle strains or sprains in the legs, arms, or back are very common amateur baseball injuries. The muscles and ligaments can become overstretched or even tear, leading to muscle spasms and weakness as well as painful sensations whenever the affected body part is in use. Visible signs include swelling, bruising, and inflammation. Appropriate compression gear can both prevent this from happening and assist in healing, and the required items are often available at clearance discounts from good sports retailers.
Torn tendons are especially common among pitchers due to repetitive stress on the rotator cuff, which is a set of four muscles in the shoulder joint. Winding up the shoulder to repeatedly throw a baseball at powerful speeds can cause inflammation and eventually tearing.
The best way to prevent this happening is to do warm-up exercises before the game. Once you’ve had a tear, it is difficult and painful to rotate the shoulder and almost impossible to play baseball adequately. Although rest and anti-inflammatory drugs can help, serious injuries often require surgery. A similar injury can happen at the elbow when the ulnar collateral ligament is stressed. A sudden twist of the joint when running to base can cause cartilage to slip in the meniscus area of the knee; this too can be extremely painful and require surgery. Sudden changes in running speed and direction can also cause the ligaments connecting the upper and lower leg to tear.
Heat stroke can happen when playing in warm weather – anything over 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Drinking plenty of liquids, either water or sports drinks such as Gatorade, is the best prevention. If you feel as though you’re overheating, take some time out to cool down.
An essential warm-up routine should include plenty of stretching, especially your back, shoulders, and
upper legs. Jumping jacks and running short distances are also effective. Batters and catchers should wear helmets to prevent serious head injuries from a wild pitch; the catcher should also wear a face mask, throat guard, shin guards, and a chest protector, as well as a catcher’s mitt. Make sure the field is safe, flat, and clear of debris and that the players are properly prepared for a safe, fun game.