Major Leaguers Seem Prone to Injuries in First Half of Season

About three-quarters occur before baseball's All-Star game, research shows

SUNDAY, July 18 (HealthDay News) -- Now that the Major League Baseball All-Star break has passed, the number of player injuries should slow down for the remainder of the season, new research suggests.

Study findings to be presented Sunday at the annual meeting of the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine, in Providence, R.I., show that almost 77 percent of Major League pitcher injuries occur before the mid-season All-Star game and almost 72 percent of all injuries to fielders do as well.

"Even though baseball is a passion of many people and our national pastime, there is very little information about the epidemiology, characteristics or distribution of injuries in Major League Baseball," Dr. Matthew Posner, orthopaedic surgeon at the William Beaumont Army Medical Center in El Paso, Texas, said in a news release from the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine. "This study attempts to evaluate Major League injuries over the period of six years."

The analysis of data from 2002 to 2008 found that 74.4 percent of MLB players' injuries occurred before the All-Star game, including 79 percent of all shoulder and elbow injuries to pitchers, and 74.8 percent of all hamstring, quadriceps, groin and core injuries to fielders.

Among injuries suffered by MLB players during those six seasons, 51.4 percent were upper-extremity injuries, 30.6 percent were in the lower extremities, 7.4 percent were back injuries, and 4.3 percent were core muscle injuries, the study found.

Pitchers suffered 67 percent of the upper-extremity injuries, while fielders had more lower-extremity injuries and injuries to other parts of the body. Pitchers spent more time on the disabled list (62.4 percent of the total), but both pitchers and fielders spent significantly more days on the disabled list for upper-extremity injuries than for lower-extremity injuries, the findings showed.

The distribution of injuries by body region was nearly identical for players in the National League and the American League. National League players' injuries were: upper extremities, 51.7 percent; lower extremities, 30.7 percent; other body areas, 17.7 percent. The rates for American League players were: upper extremities, 51.1 percent; lower extremities, 30.5 percent; other body areas, 18.4 percent.

More information

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons offers baseball safety tips.

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