The risk for upper body injuries is high as kids start getting back into fall sports
Friday, July 31, 2020

The team at OrthoCincy said already this season it's seen an alarming string of injuries coming into its urgent care centers related to sports.

Orthopedic surgeons say the lack of continuous training and perhaps even some starts and stops to team training may be to blame.

While these starts and stops are to try and prevent COVID-19 infections, it appears it’s leading to not just more injuries, but also more variety to them.

“I’ve been seeing a lot of injuries, a lot of catchers getting hit on the wrong hand, slide injuries, turned ligaments in the thumb or in the fingers, as well as overuse elbow strain and shoulder strain,” said Dr. Jonathan Slaughter, an orthopedic surgeon at OrthoCincy.

Dr. Slaughter is a sports medicine specialist who treats injuries mainly in the shoulder, arm, wrist and hand.

While he has seen his share of traditional fall-related injuries, he also says he has seen an unusually high number of shoulders messed up this season from what he calls over-throwing.

“Human arms aren’t made for overhead throwing,” said Dr. Slaughter. “You can get impingement where the actual head will rotate and hit the glenoid or the scapula. It will pinch. You can get labial tears, you can get problems with rotator cuffs and a lot of times it’s just from overuse.

”Dr. Slaughter says overuse injuries can be avoided with proper training but after months of many student-athletes not getting that training, he’s mainly seeing those now from other things.

“Too much throwing, not enough warming up and the muscles can fatigue, and once muscles fatigue, that’s when injuries can set in.”

The hope is that by raising awareness of these injuries, coaches and players will continue to focus on proper safety gear and consist of training on the field and off it.