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Abstract

Background: Research suggests deficits in shoulder and elbow strength and flexibility may explain the role of elbow injuries in overhead athletes, specifically ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) injury in baseball players. Significant damage to this ligament typically requires operative care for continued activity in the sport. Several studies have demonstrated the success of rehabilitation programs post-surgery; however, few studies have examined the role of UCL injury prevention programs. A recognized upper extremity (UE) injury prevention method is the Thrower’s Ten Program. This program may create elbow stability when pitching and throwing, theoretically reducing the risk of UCL injury. Purpose: The purpose of this study is to explore the feasibility of teaching this program to youth baseball coaches in a Spanish-speaking, developing country. Design: This is a pilot study carried out at the Youth Baseball Academy in Santiago, Dominican Republic. Participants included youth male baseball players (N=24), aged 14 to 18 years, who completed a health history survey. Dominican male coaches (N=5), aged 21 to 35 years, averaging seven years of coaching, were taught the Thrower’s Ten program. Two days post training and one-year post training, the coaches were assessed on their ability to properly demonstrate the exercises. The main outcome measures were a baseline of UE injuries in a baseball academy; proper demonstration of exercises as tracked on a Thrower’s Ten Program checklist; and implementation of the program. Results: Nearly 80% (19 of 24) of the youth baseball players recorded a current or previous UE injury. All coaches achieved a 100% (21 of 21) accuracy rate two days post training and the pitching coached achieved an 85% (18 of 21) one year later. The pitching coaches utilized the program three times per week. Conclusions: Findings suggest UE injury prevention programs are needed and can be successfully integrated into a Dominican youth baseball academy.

Author Bio(s)

Chelsey Erbaugh Franz, PhD, ATC, is a Clinical Education Coordinator in the Master of Science in Athletic Training Program and Assistant Professor in the College of Health Professions, School of Movement and Rehabilitation Sciences at Bellarmine University in Louisville, KY. She is also a licensed athletic trainer in the state of Kentucky.

Dawn Hall-Bibb, PT, PhD, MPT, is an Associate Professor in the College of Health Professions, School of Movement and Rehabilitation Sciences at Bellarmine University in Louisville, KY. She is also a licensed physical therapist in the state of Kentucky.

Myra Stockdale, ATC, DHSc, is a Program Director in the Master of Science in Athletic Training Program and Assistant Professor in the College of Health Professions, School of Movement and Rehabilitation Sciences at Bellarmine University in Louisville, KY. She is also a licensed athletic trainer in the state of Kentucky and Indiana.

Aliya Thompson is a graduate student in the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program in the College of Health Professions, Movement and Rehabilitation Sciences at Bellarmine University in Louisville, KY.

Bailey Biggs in an exercise and sport science graduate in the College of Health Professions, Movement and Rehabilitation Sciences at Bellarmine University in Louisville, KY.

Acknowledgements

Acknowledgements: Go Sports supported this study through access to their Dominican coaches and athletes in their baseball academy. This study was approved by Bellarmine University’s Institutional Review Board, study #563.

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