Identifying risk factors of upper extremity injuries in collegiate baseball players: A pilot study

Robert Slowik, Christopher Morris, Matthew Hoch, Timothy Uhl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background Repetitive pitching places tremendous forces on the shoulder and elbow which can lead to upper extremity (UE) or lower extremity (LE) overuse injuries. Purpose The purpose of this study was to evaluate pre-season physical measurements in collegiate baseball players and track in-season baseball throwing volume to determine which factors may predict throwing overuse injuries. Study Design Retrospective Cohort study. Methods Baseline preseason mobility, strength, endurance, and perception of function were measured in 17 collegiate baseball pitchers. Participants were then followed during the course of the season to collect rate of individual exposure, estimated pitch volume, and rating of perceived exertion in order to determine if changes in workload contributed to risk of injury using an Acute-to-Chronic Workload ratio (ACWR). Results Participants developing an injury had greater shoulder internal rotator strength (p=0.04) and grip strength in a neutral position (p=0.03). A significant relationship was identified between ACWR and UE injuries (p <0.001). Athletes with an ACWR above or below 33% were 8.3 (CI95 1.8-54.1) times more likely to suffer a throwing overuse injury occurring to the upper or lower extremity in the subsequent week. Conclusion ACWR change in a positive or negative direction by 33% was the primary predictor of subsequent injury. This finding may assist sports medicine clinicians by using this threshold when tracking pitch volume to ensure a safe progression in workload during a baseball season to reduce the risk of sustaining overuse upper or lower extremity injuries. Level of Evidence 3b.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)797-806
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Sports Physical Therapy
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, North American Sports Medicine Institute. All rights reserved.


  • Acute-to-chronic workload (acwr)
  • Injury prevention
  • Movement system
  • Overhead throwing
  • Time loss injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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