Facial Injuries In Youth Baseball Registry

Principal Investigators: F.O. Mueller and S.W. Marshall

Institution: Department of Physical Education, Exercise, & Sports Science and Injury Prevention Research Center, Department of Epidemiology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Title: Epidemiology of Youth Baseball Injury

Abstract: The objective of this study was to describe the epidemiology of the injuries occurring in organized baseball in young players in order to guide and inform future injury prevention efforts. During the 1996 season an injury surveillance program was implemented in a sample of leagues selected from Pony League Baseball, Dixie League Baseball, and high school baseball programs. Each team’s coach was asked to complete and return by mail a two page questionnaire for each injury sustained by a player on a team and a one page team demographics questionnaire. An “injury” was defined as any physical damage which either restricted play or required medical attention. The overall rate of injury in youth baseball was 8.46 per 1,000 players (95% confidence interval: 7.46 – 9.59). Sixty-five percent of injuries occurred in games and 35% occurred during practice. The most common type of injury was contusions, abrasions, and lacerations to the head region (19% of all injuries), followed by shoulder dislocations and sprains (10%), sprained ankles (9%), and upper limb fractures (8%). The majority of the injuries which prevented the athlete from participating in baseball for a month or more were fractures to the upper limb (52% of these injuries). The most common type of injury event was being hit by a ball (36%) of all injuries). We conclude that youth baseball does not have a high rate of injury and that prevention efforts should focus on increased protection for the head and greater support for the ankle. A key finding was that, for these players, fractures of the upper limb are common and can result in a high level of temporary disability.

The research was supported by USA Baseball, Major League Baseball, the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association, and NOCSAE.

Publications:

Mueller, FO, Marshall, SW. (1997) Epidemiology of youth baseball injury (abstract). Medicine & Science in Sports and Exercise. 29(5), suppl. S235.

Mueller, FO, Marshall, SW. (1997) Epidemiology of youth baseball injury: A report to the Medical and Safety Advisory Committee, USA Baseball. Department of Physical Education, Exercise and Sports Science and Injury Prevention Research Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 75 pages.

Mueller, FO, Marshall, SW, Johnson, RM. (1998) A survey of safety equipment used in little league baseball: A report to the Medical and Safety Advisory Committee, USA Baseball. Department of Physical Education, Exercise and Sports Science and Injury Prevention Research Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 76 pages.

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