Limitless: Are we hurting our female pitchers? Does an imposed pitch count limit for women's windmill pitchers decrease incidence of upper extremity injury?
Date of Award
Master of Science in Exercise Science
Dr. Brenda Davies
The number of outings and pitches thrown in one week for a softball pitcher is typically far in excess of those seen in baseball pitchers (Werner et al., 2005). As a result, upper extremity pain from chronic overuse is just as much of a possibility in elite windmill (fastpitch) pitchers as it is for baseball pitchers at the same level (Minetos et al., 2020). However, the literature discusses how injury can occur as the result of the windmill pitch but provides no quantifiable data to suggest how a reduction in pitch count can be beneficial. It is possible that a reduction in overall pitch count with use of the standard Little League Chart will reduce the total amount of upper extremity pain and injury in high school aged pitchers. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the use of a mandatory pitch count for high school aged softball pitchers throughout the course of one season to see if overall pitch reduction reduces upper extremity pain and injury. This study is a recommended intervention addressing prevention of overuse injury and is significant in that the results may lead to new rules in how women’s softball pitchers are managed.