Baseball is America’s favourite past time also termed the “national pastime”. Children from as young as 7 take part in the sport. Many of whom play right the way through to adulthood and even go onto play in Major League Baseball (MLB). As exciting as it might be to play, the rate of shoulder injuries aren’t so much. Especially when many suffer from a GIRD shoulder, internal impingement and or instability.
Baseball and GIRD Shoulder

Injury Rates

Some suggest that 58 per 100 suffer from a shoulder injury in MLB [1]. Pitchers have been found to suffer 34% greater injury rate and had a higher portion of disability days at 68% in comparison to their teammates. The shoulder has been found to be the most common site of injury standing at 31% of all injuries followed by the elbow at 26% [2].

The highest rate of incidence was observed during the first month of the season in MLB [2] and in pre-season in the National Collegiate Athletic Association [3]. The impact of preseason injury in the MLB is huge. Only 53% of players return to play during the same season, of which almost half experience a re-injury. The rest continue to play but at a much lower performance level than normal [4].

The number of players and the length of time they are out of action calls for an innovation that speeds up recovery and return-to-play. And one that can prevent the injuries in the first place. This is where MUJO can step in.

Types of Injuries including GIRD Shoulder [5]

The list of different injuries is quite vast and the most common injuries are as follows:

  • GIRD Shoulder
  • Internal Impingement
  • SLAP Tears
  • Rotator Cuff Tears

Some athletes may also suffer from:

  • Anterior Capsule Injury
  • Subscapularis Tendon Injury
  • Bennett Lesion
  • Posterior Muscle Injuries

A common elbow issue is an injury to the Ulnar collateral ligament (UCL), which is commonly treated with the Tommy Johnson Surgical (TJS) procedure [6].

Common Treatments

Usually, the first treatment that is tried is physical therapy [57]. There is substantial evidence that proper, targeted and individualised physical therapy works on patients with varying shoulder conditions not dissimilar to the shoulder conditions experienced by overhead athletes. However, it is difficult to provide objective physical therapy as the current modalities available do not necessarily meet the criteria to fulfil a perfect regimen.

Failed physical therapy often leads to players undergoing surgery [89]. These surgeries can range from repairs to physiological changes to help return normal or original functionality.

It is widely accepted that the mechanism to these various injuries is repetitive or overuse of an extreme motion [57]. The greatest risk is posed by the transition from late cocking phase when the upper arm is significantly externally rotated to acceleration [7]. The amount of external rotation is usually much greater than in someone who is not a professional or regular pitcher. Moreover, the torque and forces generated at the shoulder are extremely high during this transition. This transition and the acceleration phase determines how fast the ball will travel when it leaves the pitchers hand.

Our Vision

Like many others, our vision and mission are to help prevent such injuries in the first place, and where they do occur, help recover and return-to-play quickly and efficiently. In addition, our aim is to increase shoulder health and therefore performance. We don’t want to just help fix injuries, we want to help make things better.

Physical therapists can use the MUJO devices to objectively screen, measure performance and shoulder health of the squad. This would be extremely meaningful during preseason training or prior to the start of the season to pick up on any issues which can be dealt with. The therapist can also individualise proper treatment plans and take advantage of our device’s ability to allow repeatable, proprioceptive, loaded PNF exercises to help with strength and increase motor control. Better motor control could lead to faster and more accurate pitching.

“… The system functioned effectively as a rehabilitation tool to accurately optimise proprioception and muscle capacity in functional positions as well as being able to map the progress of the rehabilitation… we are looking forward to progressing our new collaboration with MUJO and Coventry University to develop pre-season screening programs and Return-To-Play protocols.” 

Ali James, the Head of Physical Therapy at Wasps RFC

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