Throughout the course of a season, many pitchers experience shoulder pain and in some cases serious injury. Meanwhile, very few quarterbacks experience similar shoulder pain or injury during their season. Why is this? This question has been raised numerous times leading to several studies. The American Sports Medicine Institute conducted one such study in which they found that delivering a pitch requires greater elbow extension, shoulder internal rotation, pelvis and upper torso angular velocities than when throwing a football. When a football is thrown, the quarterback is not able to generate as great of velocity mainly due to the greater mass of a football compared to a baseball. To compensate for the mass, a quarterback has to have a slower arm rotation thus rotating their shoulders earlier creating maximum external rotation earlier in the motion. This does not put as much stress on the shoulder leaving the quarterback with fewer injuries. Also, towards the end of a pitching rotation there is a great deal of force that needs to be decelerated and, even though a pitcher’s follow through does a good job of slowing the arm down, it still puts a great deal of compressive force on both the elbow and the shoulder, which a quarterback does not experience during his follow through.
This semester we’ve asked our ASU interns to do a research paper on a subject that interests them. This is from Dan Herrle, ASU senior majoring in Kiniesiology/ Pre-physical therapy. Great job Dan!
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