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Volume I, No. 3

   March 2006


Chairman of USA Baseball Medical and Safety Advisory Committee Answers Questions
by Nicholas Caringi
Director of Regional Operations
Little League International

Recently, Dr. Barry Goldberg was available to the Little League community to answer questions regarding the health and safety in sports. Dr. Goldberg is Director of Sports Medicine at Yale University Health Services, chairman of the USA Baseball Medical and Safety Advisory Committee, and member of the Little League International Board of Directors.

Below are a few of the questions from the session. 

Ben, a vice president in a local Little League in Hoboken, N.J., asks:
  Are there any stats on injuries caused to Little Leaguers (9 to 12 year olds) playing on artificial turf?
Dr. Goldberg:
Not to my knowledge. The consistent bounce is an advantage as is the consistency of field maintenance. Ball speed and bounce might increase the risk of injury. Overall I would guess less-skilled players may have a slight increase in injuries. New turf is softer than old turf, and repetitive pounding causing overuse injuries should not be a problem.

David, a player agent in a local league in Albany, Calif., asks:
  Quarterbacks throw heavy footballs every day, yet they never get the various "sore arm" injuries pitchers seem to get routinely throwing a light weight baseball far fewer times. Why?
Dr. Goldberg:
Quarterbacks do in fact get shoulder injuries similar to those in baseball pitchers. Because of this, there is usually a limit placed on the number of passes a quarterback will throw in a given practice. The biomechanics and forces generated by a pass are also different than those generated by a pitch, so that the stresses are different.

Jamie, a treasurer in a local Little League in McLean, Va., asks:
  Our league has 96 teams. The teams practice at a variety of locations but we have one location where the vast majority of the games are played. Is there a checklist of items that each coach should carry with them as a first aid kit for practices?
Dr. Goldberg:
The most important part of any first aid kit is a telephone. One should try to immobilize the child and wait for professional help. Materials such as ice, elastic bandages, Band-Aids, gauze, tape and Tylenol are probably all that is needed otherwise. Tylenol should only be given if a parent is present and gives permission. The critical aspect of dealing with injuries is to not try to do too much if you feel a serious injury has occurred, but rather immobilize the player and call for professional help. It should be adequate to meet the emergency needs of a coach to handle on-field injuries which don’t require the immediate care of a medical professional. If you have one main complex where all your practices and games are held, the team kit can be smaller, but if they play away from a central site, or travel, they should have as fully stocked a kit as possible. Local hospitals, clinics and medical supply companies are a good source for donated kits.

To review the entire session, please click here.

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