Overuse Injuries in Youth Baseball — Cultural Influences on Parents, Coaches, and Former Players




McGinley, James

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The benefits of youth sports are clear – team building, continuing through adversity, and work ethic, to name a few. Less frequently described, however, are the downsides of the current situation in youth sports. Specifically, in youth baseball, injuries involving overuse are rampant. Organizations such as Little League have introduced guidelines to try to curb these injuries, but ligament tears, tendonitis, Little League Shoulder, and others persist. To better understand the forces at play that encourage youth baseball players to train at the capacity and in the manner they do, I sought to examine the sociocultural influences on athletes. I performed a series of interviews with five parents, five coaches, and five former players. Upon extraction for overarching themes, it became evident that these influences came in the form of Ideologies, Pressures, and Routines. By looking deeply into these interviews and pairing their thoughts with the current literature, it is easy to see that athletes are losing autonomy in their own youth sports careers. Moreover, training is starting at earlier ages and at greater capacities; however, current education and safety systems in place may be insufficient for this change. The culture of youth sports has become one of normalizing pain, praising painkillers, and testing the limits. As a concerned player myself, I finish by offering recommendations for players, parents, coaches, and institutions based on these interviews and my own experiences.


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