Play Ball! (Safely)
Baseball season is in full swing, and with a new season comes new recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) on how to help protect the nearly 5 million children who participate in organized and recreational baseball and softball each year.
In 1995, an estimated 162,000 children age five to 14 years were treated in emergency rooms for baseball- or softball-related injuries such as fractures and bruises, cuts or scrapes.
Among the AAP's recommendations:
Preventive measures should be used to protect young baseball pitchers from throwing injuries, including a restriction on the number of pitches thrown in organized and informal settings and instruction in proper training, conditioning and throwing mechanics.
Parents, coaches and players should be educated about the early warning signs of an overuse injury and encouraged to seek timely and appropriate treatment if evidence of an injury develops.
Serious and potentially catastrophic baseball injuries can be minimized by the proper use of available safety equipment, including approved batting helmets; helmets, masks and chest and neck protectors for all catchers; and rubber spikes.
Protective fencing of dugouts and benches and the use of break-away bases also are recommended, as is the elimination of the on-deck circle. Protective equipment should always be properly fitted and well maintained.
Baseball and softball players should be encouraged to wear polycarbonate eye protectors on their batting helmets to reduce the risk of eye injury.
For a complete list of the AAP's recommendations, log on to www.aap.org.
This appeared in ACE FitnessMatters, ACE's official magazine.
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