|Dr. Mike Marshall's Pitching Coach Services|
Regular readers of my Question/Answer files know that until the growth plate of their medial epicondyle matures, I recommend that youth pitchers do not throw from the set position or windup for more than two months per year, do not pitch against opposing batters in competitive games until they are thirteen years old and do not pitch more than one inning per game twice a week.
Yet, the truth is that I do not know that this might still permanently deform their pitching arms.   And, I can assure you that neither does Little League Baseball, Inc. nor any other organization.   We are all guessing.   In the middle 1960's, Dr. Joel Adams of San Bernadino, CA conducted the only credible research into the subject.   He found that ninety-five percent of the pitchers in his study had suffered irreparable damage to their pitching arms.   Not to the point that most pitchers could not still pitch, but to the point that premature closure permanently shortened the bones of their pitching arms.   In Chapter Nine of my Coaching Pitchers book, I discuss Dr. Adams' research in greater detail.         a.   Research Study to Determine the Proper Safety Recommendations for Youth Pitchers
Somebody needs to research the growth and development of the pitching arms of youth pitchers.   Therefore, I am asking you, the concerned parents of America's youth pitchers, to send me copies of X-rays that you will have taken within one week of your son's birthdays each year until the growth plate of his medial epicondyle completely matures.   You will need to X-ray both arms from mid-forearm to mid-upper arm from the anterior/posterior and lateral views.   I will also need to know:
I will examine these X-rays and tell you your their son's biological age and whether I can see any evidence of the growth plates in his pitching arm maturing any differently than the growth plates in his non-pitching arm.   More importantly, we will begin to understand what pitching does to the pitching arms of pubescent and adolescent males and how much is okay and how much is too much.   Together, we must protect the immature skeletons of young pitching arms and eliminate their pitching arm injuries.
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