Shoulder Injuries in the MLB

When people think of baseball injuries, they typically think of things like Tommy John surgery, strained hamstrings, and ankle injuries. This is completely understandable, as these are all common types of injuries in the MLB. In particular, medical students and prospective physiotherapists learning about torn ulnar collateral ligaments generally learn about this condition by using baseball as an example, where pitchers are emphasizes due to the extreme stress that occurs on the inside of the elbow during a pitch. This is the injury that typically requires the commonly heard-of Tommy John surgery.

That said, the overhead mechanics involved in throwing and catching can lead to many other problematic conditions as well, such as impingement problems in the shoulder, torn rotator cuff muscles, and sometimes even shoulder dislocation. These injuries are becoming increasingly common in baseball due to the fact that the players are pushing their bodies to the limits more than ever.

Relevance to MLB

So what does this have to do with current events in the MLB? If you’re a Brewers fan, you probably know all to well about shoulder injuries at the current moment. Jimmy Nelson, the Ace for the Brewers, was recently diagnosed with a torn rotator cuff muscle as well as a torn labrum of the shoulder joint, which is a structure that is necessary in order to maintain stability of the joint and prevention of dislocation. Perhaps more relevant for the short term, this injury is extremely painful and doesn’t just limit, but makes it impossible for Nelson to be able to throw, let alone pitch. This injury wasn’t sustained during a pitch, but actually occurred when he was forced to dive back into 1st base. Thus, the Brewers’ chances of making playoffs, and ultimately the World Series, has taken a significant blow.

Protecting Future Draft Classes

This is just one example of numerous shoulder injuries that are currently diagnosed in the MLB. We don’t mention this just to annoy Brewers’ fans, but instead, we are taking a more educational approach to this column. At MLB Sports Daily, we feel strongly that protecting our youth athletes from significant injuries is of the upmost importance, not just for their health and wellness, but also so we can allow the sport of baseball to thrive and grow in a healthy manner.

So as a baseball parent, what can you do to help your child avoid a major shoulder injury? First, we should start by mentioning that injuries are inherently accidental, and therefore cannot be completely avoided. However, taking some preventative measures to try and reduce the risk of injury as much as possible can make a huge difference.

Our first point of advice would be to talk to any available trainer on the team about injury avoidance strategies. Simple methods like appropriate stretching and strengthening can go a long way in terms of injury prevention. If the team does not have the resources for a trainer, which many don’t, then try visiting a physiotherapist if at all possible. If this is also out of the question, YouTube is a great resource for demonstrations of baseball-specific stretching and strengthening exercises.

There’s a good chance your child has already been injured playing baseball. It is crucial not to rush their recovery for the sake of squeezing in an extra game or two. Remember, they have their entire careers ahead of them. If their injury has led to decreased shoulder stability, there are lots of affordable sports medicine products out there to help aid in their rehabilitation. For example, shoulder braces can be used to provide additional stability to the shoulder joint if it has been compromised due to a rotator cuff injury or ligament sprain. These types of devices exist for virtually every applicable joint in the body, so you can usually find something good for any time of injury. We prefer the site Brace Access for information and education about sports injuries and sports medicine braces.


At the end of the day, keeping up with current news and events in the MLB can really give you a good idea about where the sport is heading. If you see shoulder injuries are on the rise, chances are that is something you will want to consider moving forward. If you see a trend of certain positions experiencing similar injuries, then again, this is a trend you will want to keep in the back of your mind.

In the meantime, enjoy the final stretch of the 2017 MLB season, and best of luck in your own baseball league!

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