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Apr 21 2010
Preventing Baseball Injuries Q&A - DSH

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Dr. Henry Goitz, M.D.
Sports Medicine/Orthopaedic Surgery
DMC Surgery Hospital (DSH)


In preparation for the start of baseball/softball season, we wanted to give out some information to players of all ages on how to help prevent sports-related injuries. So we had asked one of our top sports medicine orthopaedic specialists, Dr. Henry Goitz from DMC Surgery Hospital, to answer a few questions about how to both identify and help avoid these types of injuries during the season. 

Question #1: What are the most common injuries associated with 'throwing' athletes?

Dr. Goitz: Injuries to the shoulder and elbow are by far the most common in throwing athletes. Most of these problems start as overuse injuries, particularly in our youth; but, continued play through pain is a perfect formula for further injury, some of which may actually require surgery. More serious events could involve injury to the growth plate in the skeletally immature adolescent both in the shoulder and elbow; such disturbances could also lead to surgery and/or growth disturbance or deformity.

One of the most compromising events that is on the rise in younger and younger throwers and is of true concern to those of us who manage and treat sports injury is damage to the medial collateral ligament of the elbow, an event that may require reconstructive elbow surgery known as the 'Tommy John'.

Question #2: How often do these injuries occur?

Dr. Goitz: The increasing numbers of injury to our throwing athletes is staggering, considered by some to be of epidemic proportions. The reason is multifactorial. Yet, throwing too much is primarily to blame. Playing year round on multiple teams with multiple back to back games does not allow the arm sufficient time to adapt appropriately to increasing stresses--the result, tissue breakdown, pain, and inablility to play.

Question #3: How can one avoid common injuries?

Dr. Goitz: Muscle stretching and strenghtening, together with proper pre-season conditioning that is sport specific is the best way to reduce the incidence of injury. It's important to work the rotator cuff and forearm musculature, together with a conditioning of the muscle to reduce fatigability.

Question #4: What are some suggested surgical and non-surgical approaches for those who suffer from shoulder related injuries?

Dr. Goitz: Shoulder 'bursitis' and strain of the rotator cuff musculature is best treated by conservative measures that involve stretching and strenghtening of the musculature while reducing inflammation of the painful bursa. Failure to manage this pain could result in arthroscopic debridement (removal) of the painful bursa. Sometimes the bicep tendon anchor that is found deep in the shoulder socket requires arthroscopic reattachment after being torn from its anatomic site of origin.

Question #5: What is the role of physical therapy in recovery?

Dr. Goitz: Physical therapy's role is 'huge'!! Without good physical therapy, more surgery could be required. Good therapy can keep a ballplayer out of the operating room. More important, good pre-season therapeutic conditioning can keep our ball players from getting injured in the first place!!


To make an appointment with Dr. Goitz, please call (586) 558-2860. 

If interested in more information on preventing throwing injuries, come see Dr. Henry Goitz in person next Wednesday, April 28 from 6:30-8pm over at 
DMC Surgery Hospital for a DMC People's Medical College seminar on "Play Ball! Preventing Injuries in Throwing Athletes". The event will feature a live "Ask The Doctor" Q & A with Dr. Goitz and exercise demostrations from therapists and trainers from our DMC Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan (RIM) and is ideal for recreational athletes of all ages, parents, and coaches.

To register for this seminar, please register online here at
www.dmc.org/peoplesmedicalcollege or call 1-888-DMC-2500.

A board-certified orthopaedic surgeon, Dr. Henry Goitz specializes in ligament, cartilage and tendon injuries of the knee, shoulder, elbow and ankle, with surgical expertise in sports medicine arthroscopy.

An honors graduate of Cornell University, N.Y., Dr. Goitz received his M.D. from Rutgers Medical School (UMDNJ), New Jersey. He completed his Orthopaedic Surgery Residency at the University of Virginia, and Sports Medicine Fellowships at University of Virginia and the American Sports Medicine Institute (Birmingham, AL).

He served as Associate Professor and Chief, Sports Medicine, at the Medical University of Ohio. He has been a consultant for Detroit athletes from the professional (Lions, Tigers, Red Wings) to the recreational sports enthusiast, as well as Team Physician for the US Paralympic Team. His cutting edge research has won lecture invitations both nationally and internationally, and syndicated newspaper, radio and television outlets have sought his sports injury-related advice. He is Managing Sports Editor of E-medicine.







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