Let’s Move Quad Cities: How To Keep Your Spring Athlete Injury-Free

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Spring Fever is in full effect, but playing too much and too soon could affect your game.

"This is the time of year where you have to be aware," said Dr. Ryan Dunlay with ORA Orthopedics. "No athlete is immune to it. I think an athlete at any level - from grade school to high school to college - can develop these problems."

Dr. Dunlay is talking about overuse injuries. Specifically - the shoulder. He said it's easy for players, coaches, and parents to get excited when the baseball or softball season gets going, but hold up - you have to take each play step by step, or throw by throw.

"The old saying used to be that if you're experiencing discomfort - tough it out - and now we have a better realization that as young athletes, it's very important to protect their bodies," explained Dr. Dunlay. "They have many years in front of them and sometimes athletes mature at different ages and certainly when you're younger, it's easier for the mechanics of the throwing to break down and cause injury."

For those young ones, Dr. Dunlay says the focus should be on becoming stronger all around - not just in pitching and not just in one sport.

"I just think at a young, young age it's important to have rest and diversify interests, because it can really save on the back end of their careers as a throwing athlete if they want to play at the high school or collegiate level."

Once you get to that level, Dr. Dunlay said it's time to perfect your technique and know your limits.

"Don't push it at the beginning [of the season]," he said. "Make sure you're stretching properly, working on proper mechanisms before accelerating into the higher pitch counts and higher velocity, because that stuff will come. It's just important to do it at the right time."

And if there's one thing Dr. Dunlay wants to "hit home," it's to talk, listen, and pay attention to your athlete before a little bit of pain turns into something much worse.

"I think the most important thing is to have an open dialogue with the young athletes," he said. "Good coaches and good parents understand that."

Little League Baseball has guidelines on how many days a baseball player should rest depending on how many pitches they throw. To learn more, click here.

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