An Injury Prevention Program for Overhead Athletes

Sports medicine physicians and athletic trainers are troubled by the rising number of young overhead athletes (baseball, softball, lacrosse, tennis, volleyball players) with shoulder and elbow injuries caused by overuse. It often begins with arm pain, tendonitis and loss of function and performance related to the shoulder and elbow.

Research supports these concerns.  A recent study published in The American Journal of Sports Medicine found that 75 percent of baseball players, ages eight to eighteen, experience arm pain, yet they continue to play because of pressure from coaches and parents. And, according to the American Orthopaedic Society of Sports Medicine, there has been a more than a five-fold increase in the number of serious shoulder and elbow injuries among youth baseball and softball players since 2000.

Shoulder and elbow overuse injuries in athletes are often the result of repetitive motion that causes trauma to the tendons, ligaments and joints. The symptoms can sometimes be subtle, making them challenging to diagnose and treat. For example, unt
reated shoulder tendonitis in a young athlete can lead to serious shoulder issues in adulthood.

That’s why the Illinois Athletic Trainers Association (IATA) and sports medicine physicians at Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush (MOR), have teamed up to help prevent shoulder and elbow injuries from occurring. “Shoulders for Life” urges coaches and athletic trainers to implement shoulder and elbow injury prevention programs for athletes at risk.