Arm surgeon specialist welcomes rules protecting athletes

Robert Bane, MD, has seen many young athletes with elbow injuries. The Carle Sports Medicine orthopedic surgeon has counseled athletes to rest their arms as overuse can cause serious injuries.

As he starts seeing patients at the new Carle Orthopedics and Sports Medicine building January 30, he hopes new high school pitching rules will help lower the risk of overuse arm injuries in young people.

For 2017, the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) adopted a formula that makes players rest after throwing pitches in a game.

Dr. Bane has seen many young people develop arm problems from throwing too many pitches. He says the elbow growth plate is not mature in high school players. If they throw too many pitches, the stress could snap the ligament off the growth plate. If the injured athlete wants to continue playing baseball, they will need Tommy John surgery to reconstruct the elbow.

“Overuse sports injuries are a national epidemic. Baseball is a problem because of the many off-season opportunities, the number of showcase events available and the attempts by many to achieve college and professional status,” Dr. Bane said.

“Enforcing pitch-count limits at the high school level is critical as most athletes are not mature enough for the hard pitching demands we see in the majors or even college ball.”

Any person hurt while playing sports or exercise can use the Carle Sports Medicine free walk-in clinic available weekday mornings and afternoons. Providers will evaluate the athlete to determine if the individual is just sore or injured, and can recommend treatment options.

Read more of Dr. Bane’s insight about pitch-count limits in The News-Gazette.