The Aces of the Bases

boy baseballThe United States is one ‘Happy Nation’ when it comes to their national sport Baseball. Americans are ‘Aces’ whether it is in playing the game or being a mere spectator. The number of world cups bagged by Americans or the attendance of around seventy five million fans in professional games per year is ample proof of both.

Baseball is a field sport played on a diamond shaped field between two teams. Each team consists of nine players. It’s played with a ball which is made up of yarn wound around a cork covered with hide and a bat made up of wood in the shape of a stick. The team which scores the most runs wins the game. A pitcher throws the ball to an offensive player. A score is earned when an offensive player advances from the batter to the bases from the first, second, third and home base in counter clock-wise direction. As compared to other field sports like football, hockey or rugby, baseball is a less aggressive game. Injuries due to collision or trauma are lesser and more due to overuse of tissues.

A good pitcher can pitch a ball at speeds in the range of a hundred miles per hour. At such a fast pace with the majority of actions happening at the shoulder joint, pitchers are frequently afflicted with rotator cuff injuries. Repetitive stress on the tendons leads to inflammation and even tears. Another common area of affection in pitchers is the elbow. The swinging action while throwing the baseball can cause inflammation of the tendons leading to an ironical condition that goes by the name of a tennis or golfer’s elbow.

While a pitcher is prone to injuries of the upper extremities, the runners are more likely to have injuries of the lower extremities. A sudden twisting movement can put an impact on the knees which can significantly affect the cartilages wedged in there. Minor injuries can heal with time but severe ones often require the aid of arthroscopic reconstructive surgeries. While running between bases there is a sudden change in speed and direction due to which there is tremendous strain on the ligaments strengthening the knee as well as the ankle joint. Along with a good stretching and warm up exercises, wearing the right footwear like cleats can help in preventing injuries.

To conclude, with the right fitness regime one can be fit enough to cheer in the audience or be in action on field with ‘the star spangled banner' soaring spirits high enough to touch the sky.      

 Penned by Dr.Rachita Narsaria, MD
References:
http://www.stopsportsinjuries.org/baseball-injury-prevention.aspx
http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00635
http://entertainment.howstuffworks.com/5-common-baseball-injuries.htm