Little League, Big Injuries

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For many kids, there's nothing better than showing their stuff on a Little League field on a hot summer day.
"When I strike somebody out I feel really good," says Little League pitcher Adam Desoto.
But for overworked young pitchers, that good feeling can quickly turn sour.
"If I pitch too much it starts to get hurt and I start throwing fouls and balls," says Desoto.
That's why starting this year, Little League teams have to keep track of how many pitches their kids throw during a game and during a season.
"In our division they can pitch 75 pitches a game and then they have to have three days rest," explains Little League coach Dan Bogdonas.
In last year's Little League rules, the amount of rest a pitcher needed was judged by the number of innings he played, no matter how many times he threw the ball, and that often led to injured shoulders and elbows.
"You're thinking these people made up this rule and they know what they're talking about. So I'll put him out there and he should be fine but then you find out later, maybe I should have waited," says Bogdonas.
A sports medicine specialist at Rockford Orthopedic says its very important that young athletes give their joints enough rest, especially because kids are becoming more competitive at a younger age.
"With kids that are still growing, their growth plates are more vulnerable to injury that could have some permanent or long-term effects as an adult," says orthopedic surgeon Dr. Scott Trenhale.
Dr. Trenhale advises parents to listen to your kids complaints and catch injuries early, so they can get back out on the diamond sooner.
Coach Bogdonas says when his competitive streak comes out, it's tempting to play his best pitcher just a little longer. But the kids' health is his number one priority and overall he's pleased with the rule change.
Dr. Trenhale adds sports injuries are not limited to baseball. For instance, soccer and track often lead to knee injuries. He says when kids play multiple sports, with overlapping seasons, injuries are most frequent. So again, be sure your kids getting enough rest.

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