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  • Author: James R. Andrews x
  • Athletic Training, Therapy, and Rehabilitation x
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David F. Stodden, Glenn S. Fleisig, Scott P. McLean and James R. Andrews

To reach the level of elite, most baseball pitchers need to consistently produce high ball velocity but avoid high joint loads at the shoulder and elbow that may lead to injury. This study examined the relationship between fastball velocity and variations in throwing mechanics within 19 baseball pitchers who were analyzed via 3-D high-speed motion analysis. Inclusion in the study required each one to demonstrate a variation in velocity of at least 1.8 m/s (range 1.8–3.5 m/s) during 6 to 10 fastball pitch trials. Three mixed model analyses were performed to assess the independent effects of 7 kinetic, 11 temporal, and 12 kinematic parameters on pitched ball velocity. Results indicated that elbow flexion torque, shoulder proximal force, and elbow proximal force were the only three kinetic parameters significantly associated with increased ball velocity. Two temporal parameters (increased time to max shoulder horizontal adduction and decreased time to max shoulder internal rotation) and three kinematic parameters (decreased shoulder horizontal adduction at foot contact, decreased shoulder abduction during acceleration, and increased trunk tilt forward at release) were significantly related to increased ball velocity. These results point to variations in an individual's throwing mechanics that relate to pitched ball velocity, and also suggest that pitchers should focus on consistent mechanics to produce consistently high fastball velocities. In addition, pitchers should strengthen shoulder and elbow musculature that resist distraction as well as improve trunk strength and flexibility to maximize pitching velocity and help prevent injury.

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Yungchien Chu, Glenn S. Fleisig, Kathy J. Simpson and James R. Andrews

The purpose of the current study was to identify the biomechanical features of elite female baseball pitching. Kinematics and kinetics of eleven elite female baseball pitchers were reported and compared with eleven elite male pitchers. Results suggested that females share many similarities with males in pitching kinematics, with a few significant differences. Specifically, at the instant of stride foot contact, a female pitcher had a shorter and more open stride and less separation between pelvis orientation and upper torso orientation. From foot contact to ball release, a female pitcher produced lower peak angular velocity for throwing elbow extension and stride knee extension. Ball velocity was lower for the female. Foot contact to ball release took more time for a female pitcher. Maximal proximal forces at the shoulder and elbow joints were less for a female pitcher.

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Tomoyuki Matsuo, Rafael F. Escamilla, Glenn S. Fleisig, Steven W. Barrentine and James R. Andrews

This study investigated differences in kinematic and temporal parameters between two velocity groups of baseball pitchers. Data were collected from 127 healthy college and professional baseball pitchers. Those who threw faster than 1 SD above the sample mean (>38.0 m/s) were assigned to the high velocity group (n = 29), and those who threw slower than 1 SD below the sample mean (<34.2 m/s) were assigned to the low velocity group (n = 23). Twelve kinematic parameters and 9 temporal parameters were measured and analyzed. The pattern of lead knee movement was also investigated. Maximum shoulder external rotation, forward trunk tilt at the instant of ball release, and lead knee extension angular velocity at the instant of ball release were significantly greater in the high velocity group. Maximum lead knee flexion angular velocity was significantly greater in the low velocity group. Seventy percent of the high velocity group showed knee extension during the approach to ball release, whereas the low velocity group showed a variety of knee movement patterns involving less knee extension and more knee flexion. The greater shoulder external rotation in the high velocity group produced an increased range of motion during the acceleration phase.

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Kevin E. Wilk, James R. Andrews, William G. Clancy Jr., Heber C. Crockett and James W. O'Mara Jr.

Treatment of posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) injuries has changed considerably in recent years. This article discusses current rehabilitation for PCL disruptions in athletes. The treatment of PCL injuries varies somewhat based on the chronicity (acute vs. chronic) of injury and associated pathologies. The authors provide their treatment algorithm for the acute and chronic PCL-injured-knee patient. Nonoperative rehabilitation is discussed with a focus on immediate motion, quadriceps muscle strengthening, and functional rehabilitation. A discussion of the biomechanics of exercise is provided, with a focus on tibiofemoral shear forces and PCL strains. Surgical treatment is also discussed, with the current surgical approach being either the two-tunnel or the one-tunnel patellar tendon autograft procedure. The rehabilitation program after surgery is based on the healing constraints, surgical technique, biomechanics of the PCL during functional activities, and exercise. With the new changes in surgical technique and in the rehabilitation process, the authors believe that the outcome after PCL reconstruction will be enhanced.

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Michael M. Reinold, Glenn S. Fleisig, James R. Andrews, Kevin E. Wilk and Gene G. Jameson

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Gretchen D. Oliver, Jessica K. Washington, Sarah S. Gascon, Hillary A. Plummer, Rafael F. Escamilla and James R. Andrews

Context: Hip abductor musculature contributes to the stability of the pelvis, which is needed for efficient energy transfer from the lower-extremity to the upper-extremity during overhead throwing. Objective: The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of a bilateral hip abduction fatigue protocol on overhead-throwing kinematics and passive hip range of motion. Design: Prospective cohort study. Setting: Controlled laboratory setting. Participants: A convenience sample of 19 collegiate female softball players (20.6 [1.9] y; 169.3 [9.7] cm; 73.2 [11.2] kg). Main Outcome Measures: Repeated hip abduction to fatigue was performed on an isokinetic dynamometer for 3 consecutive days. Trunk and shoulder kinematics during throwing and hip internal and external rotation range of motion were analyzed prior to fatigue on day 1 (prefatigue) and following fatigue on day 3 (postfatigue). Results: Repeated-measures analysis of variances revealed no statistically significant differences in trunk and shoulder kinematics prefatigue and postfatigue. A statistically significant time × side × direction interaction (F 2,36 = 5.462, P = .02, ηp2=.233) was observed in hip passive range of motion. A decrease in throwing-side hip internal rotation prefatigue to postfatigue (mean difference = −2.284; 95% confidence interval, −4.302 to −0.266; P = .03) was observed. Conclusions: The hip abductor fatigue protocol used in this study did not significantly alter trunk and upper-extremity throwing kinematics. The lack of changes may indicate that fatigue of the hip abductors does not contribute to trunk and shoulder kinematics during throwing or the protocol may not have been sport-specific enough to alter kinematics.

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Rafael F. Escamilla, Glenn S. Fleisig, Coop DeRenne, Marcus K. Taylor, Claude T. Moorman III, Rodney Imamura, Edward Barakatt and James R. Andrews

We propose that learning proper hitting kinematics should be encouraged at a young age during youth baseball because this may help reinforce proper hitting kinematics as a player progresses to higher levels of baseball in their adult years. To enhance our understanding between youth and adult baseball hitting, kinematic and temporal analyses of baseball hitting were evaluated with a high-speed motion analysis system between 12 skilled youth and 12 skilled adult baseball players. There were only a small number of temporal differences between youth and adult hitters, with adult hitters taking significantly greater time than youth hitters during the stride phase and during the swing. Compared with youth hitters, adult hitters a) had significantly greater (p < .01) lead knee flexion when the hands started to move forward; b) flexed the lead knee over a greater range of motion during the transition phase (31° versus 13°); c) extended the lead knee over a greater range of motion during the bat acceleration phase (59° versus 32°); d) maintained a more open pelvis position at lead foot off ground; and e) maintained a more open upper torso position when the hands started to move forward and a more closed upper torso position at bat-ball contact. Moreover, adult hitters had greater peak upper torso angular velocity (857°/s versus 717°/s), peak left elbow extension angular velocity (752°/s versus 598°/s), peak left knee extension angular velocity (386°/s versus 303°/s), and bat linear velocity at bat-ball contact (30 m/s versus 25 m/s). The numerous differences in kinematic and temporal parameters between youth and adult hitters suggest that hitting mechanics are different between these two groups.

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Rafael F. Escamilla, Glenn S. Fleisig, Coop DeRenne, Marcus K. Taylor, Claude T. Moorman III, Rodney Imamura, Edward Barakatt and James R. Andrews

A motion system collected 120-Hz data from 14 baseball adult hitters using normal and choke-up bat grips. Six swings were digitized for each hitter, and temporal and kinematic parameters were calculated. Compared with a normal grip, the choke-up grip resulted in 1) less time during stride phase and swing; 2) the upper torso more opened at lead foot contact; 3) the pelvis more closed and less bat linear velocity at bat-ball contact; 4) less range of motion of the upper torso and pelvis during swing; 5) greater elbow flexion at lead foot contact; and 6) greater peak right elbow extension angular velocity. The decreased time during the stride phase when using a choke-up grip implies that hitters quicken their stride when they choke up. Less swing time duration and less upper torso and pelvis rotation range of motion using the choke-up grip supports the belief of many coaches and players that using a choke-up grip results in a “quicker” swing. However, the belief that using a choke-up grip leads to a faster moving bat was not supported by the results of this study.