MedStar Health Research Institute Intramural Grants Program
With nearly five million participants aged 5 to 14 and a half million players at the scholastic level, baseball is among the most popular youth sports in the United States. Continued injury surveillance is needed to better understand injury patterns and design preventive interventions.
To determine rates, nature, body part, and play situation of injuries incurred during participation in youth baseball.
Data were collected during 2006 youth baseball camps and tournaments sponsored by Ripken Baseball. Athletic exposures (AEs) totaled 15,470 and 16,344 in summer camps and tournaments, respectively, among boys 8 to 16 years old. Data on all injuries requiring medical attention were coded by certified athletic trainers using a computerized system.
There were 291 injuries. Contusions accounted for the majority of injuries in camps (32%) and tournaments (56%). There were 4 fractures, 2 concussions, and 6 eye injuries, none resulting in altered vision. Injuries occurred most frequently during fielding (36%), followed by batting (21%) and base running (16%). The proportion of injuries was similar among pitchers, catchers, and other fielders. Players aged 9 and 10 years had a higher percentage of head/face injuries (45%) than players aged 14 to 16 years (11%). The incidence rate in camps (13.8 per 1000 AEs) was significantly higher than that in tournaments (4.8 per 1000 AEs; incident rate ratio = 2.88 (95% CI: 2.22-3.79).
These data suggest youth baseball is a safe sport with opportunities to prevent the few serious injuries that may occur.