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Shoulder Injury

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Dear Editor,

I am writing in response to your article "The Incidence of Shoulder Injury among Collegiate Overhead Athletes". Sports have taken over today's society, and with sports comes injuries. Athletes are becoming more and more prone to shoulder injuries, some of which are very serious. Especially among sports in which over head motions and throwing occur. Among the five sports considered over head in your study (baseball, tennis, swimming, volleyball, and softball) you stated that volleyball players are the most prone to shoulder injuries. So, what can be done to help prevent shoulder injuries in these sports?
There are many studies done that support the fact that shoulder injuries are among the most common athletic injuries. One such study states, "Acute shoulder injury occurs regularly in high-impact collision sports such as ice hockey and constitutes about 10% of youth tournament injuries. But in acute cases can often be fixed by surgery or rehabilitation. (Byers, 2006)
To back up your article further research shows that shoulder instability, strength imbalances, and scapular dispositions are some of the most common shoulder problems among athletes. The research done gives upper body exercises such as the sleeper stretch, low row exercise, and the lawn mower exercise with weight as rehabilitation methods to treat such injuries (Kennedy, 2009)
I've been an athlete in an over head sport for most of my life and have suffered from numerous injuries including a shoulder injury. One study I found interesting to me was a study on "The Acute Effects of Sleeper Stretches on Shoulder Range of Motion". This study took both over head sport athletes and non athletes and tested their range of motion before doing a sleeper stretch (a stretch in which you lay on your side, with the arm on the ground out at an angle infront of you and let your forearm go lax internally toward the ground, stretching your shoulder.) The study found that range of motion in external rotation and posterior rotation both increased significantly after acute sleeper stretches were performed.
Not only does stretching prove to help prevent shoulder injury but it also helps during rehabilitation after injury. This is summed up in the article "Shoulder Muscle Activity and Function in Common Shoulder Rehabilitation Exercises". The article briefly explains which sports put the most strain on the shoulder. During the study an EMG is used during numerous rehabilitation exercises to prove that the exercise is working the intended muscle. The article states, "shoulder injuries are not as common in closed chained positions, such as a wrestler in a quadriceps position with hands fixed to the ground. Injuries are however more common in sports in which the hand can move freely in space against varying external loads, such as in throwing a football, discus or shot put, passing a basketball, pitching a baseball, swinging a tennis racket, baseball bat or golf club, or lifting a weight overhead. The movements performed in these latter activities are similar to the movements that occur in open chain exercises.
Over all I think you covered shoulder injuries and the negative effects they cause athletes, particularly in overhead sports well.. Although injuries to the shoulder are among one of the most common injuries in sports today, there has been numerous studies out there including your own that can not only teach athletes how to stretch and prevent injuries from occurring, but also how to treat shoulder injuries after they happen.


Reference's

Byers, Jason. (2006). Shoulder Pain: A Case Study of Acute Injury in a Collegiate hockey Player. Current Sports Medicine Reports Dec2006, Vol. 5 Issue
6, p.281-3p.


Escamilla, Rafael F. (2009). Shoulder Muscle Activity and Function in Common Shoulder Rehabilitation Exercises. American Sports Medicine Institute. Vol. 39 Issue
8, p663 23p.

Kennedy David et al. (2009). Current concepts for shoulder training in the overhead athlete. Curr. Sports med. Rep., Vol. 8, No. 3, pp. 154--160.

Laudner, Kevin. (2009). The Incidence of Shoulder Injury among Collegiate Overhead
Athletes. Journal of Intercollegiate Sport, 2009, 2, 260-268 Human Kinetics,
Inc.

Laudner, Kevin (2008). The Acute Effects of Sleeper Stretches on Shoulder Range of
Motion. Journal of Athletic Triaining 2008;43(4):359-363

4 Replies

  • I liked how not only you commented on various exercises to help in shoulder exercises, but you also included stretches as well. I think a combination of both of these are the most beneficial in aiding in any type of injury. Stretching helps the range of motion, while exercises increase strength. Together, the two actions improve overall stability in joints.

  • I am currently working with my own shoulder injury from overuse that resulted from too much flexibility in the joint(I have practiced yoga for a number of years) combined with a weakness of certain supporting muscles. While for most people, stretching can be incredibly beneficial for prevention and treatment, I agree that additional strength exercises to improve stability are essential.

  • I think it is important to acknowledge the Functional Range of Motion (FRM) associated with specific sports in order to properly train and rehabilitate the shoulder joint. Certainly overhead athletes should be doing more shoulder exercises than non-overhead athletes and I think it could be broken down even further into specific positions within those sports. I think it is crucial for an athlete to improve their strength throughout their FRM in order to have the best chance at preventing an injury. For example, if a pitcher is only focusing on the acceleration phase of his motion, the deceleration phase may lead to problems down the road. It is important for both athletes and coaches to be aware of proper training and rehabilitative techniques.

  • I personally think that shoulder injuries can happen to pretty much any athlete. Of course, more to the athletes that participate in a sport that involves that kind of a movement. Therefore, these athletes need to be practicing the type of shoulder exercises that stabilize it and that will be used during their performance to minimize the risk of injury.

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